Breaking news from the Farmlet! Rosie, one of our dear cows, gave birth to a fine little black calf late this afternoon, up at the top of the hill.
Since last weekend, we had been thinking that Rosie’s calf could be born any day. Her udder had filled up, and she was looking a bit swollen under the tail. I’d been hurrying out of bed most mornings (even in the torrential rain) to see whether the calf had been born during the night. By now we had started to get used to seeing Rosie looking like she was about to burst and nothing happening! Just before midday today I realised that we hadn’t been out to check her since yesterday evening. Feeling like a very neglectful cowherd, I rushed out to the cow paddock. I found Rosie all the way up the top of the hill, standing next to something that looked like a giant jellyfish. It was a clear sac of fluids, lying behind her on the grass, and I knew this must mean that the calf was on its way.
Kevin and I are novice cowherds, and had never seen a cow calving before. Once it was happening, we were very excited, but realised we had no idea what to expect. How would we know if something was wrong? We went to check Rosie again. She was lying on her side, and we could see one hoof sticking out. Was this normal? Probably, but we weren’t sure! Rosie was working very hard, and for a long time there seemed to be no progress. Kevin walked down to the house to consult Google and call my Dad (who knows a lot more about cows than we do!). No cause for concern, he reported. And sure enough, before long two front hooves came into view, followed by a little black nose. Once Rosie managed to push the calf’s head out, the body followed in a rush. A twitching, wriggling black bundle lay on the grass behind Rosie.
It was wonderful to watch Rosie turn around and start licking her calf. As she licked the little one clean, Coco and Esmerelda came over to see what was going on. Once satisfied that this had nothing to do with them, they wandered off to eat grass again. Evening closed in. The calf tested its wobbly legs, and managed to stand up for a moment before collapsing on the ground again. We couldn’t tell the calf’s sex yet, but it looks like a healthy little creature. Rosie seems very pleased with it. We look forward to checking up on them again tomorrow morning, and will keep the website updated regarding their progress.
Update: The Next Day
He’s a healthy little bull calf.