I missed the birth. I’m nearly 2 hours away from the farm where Sadie is living right now, so the chances that K. and M. would notice she was in labor and I would be able to drive there before the calf was born were slim to none from the get go. However, it was the first time that K. got to witness a calf’s birth, so that was pretty cool for her. She said that M. stuck his head in the house and hollered that Sadie was in labor, to come quick. K. got her camera and ran the whole way from the house to the barn. 90 seconds after she arrived, the calf was born. She got a couple incredible photos:
Sadie’s calf- still wet from birth
The calf struggled to stand. She was weak. She couldn’t even try to suckle. Sadie did a great job licking her new baby girl. The licking stimulates the calf’s circulation, stimulates her to breath, stimulates her brain function, stimulates her to stand and nourish herself at her mama’s side. The licking dries off the mucus and allows her fur to dry. It was very cold that afternoon.
Welcome to the World Little Heifer!
After awhile, M. and K. made the call to tube the calf and get something warm into her belly. They milked out some of Sadie’s warm colostrum and mixed it with some honey from my farm, some garlic and a smidge of colliodial silver. K. said that the tiny heifer received the warm colostrum and immediately stood UP.
“Hot Damn- I’m alive!
Welcome, sweet little cow. Welcome.
Eclair loves Laura.
Laboring cow looks to her Keeper
The love between this cow and her keeper runs deep. Laura was rubbing Eclair’s spine when I arrived before the sun was up this morning. I had seen birth partners do this before… On a human. I moved quietly into the barn and watched from on top of the straw bales for awhile. I was reluctant to climb the fence, i didn’t want to come inside *their* space and agitate the laboring cow. Every few minutes she would stand and move. Sometimes she would try to rub her hind end against the fence or the barn wall. The calves hooves were protruding. During a contraction, the tip of the calves nose would protrude a bit and when the contraction ended it would slip back inside her. It was about 7 degrees F this morning, so the warm, wet calf’s nose would steam. At first I gasped because in my naïveté I thought it was exhaling into the cold air. Eclair would point her rear end into a corner so we couldn’t get behind her and pull. She was so tired. She would lay flat on her side and just moan. When K. arrived she encouraged me to climb in and help Laura pull the calves front feet. The three of us pulled mightily and the calf slipped out in three contractions. I rubbed and rubbed its warm, wet ribs. It’s eyes were open and never blinked. Eclair was spent. She didn’t even lift her head once the baby was out. We all slowly realized the baby was not going to ever take a breath. Three grown women had tears streaking their faces, mourning together and individually. Laura never left her cows side. She was constantly rubbing her fur, speaking quietly to her, first encouragement, then words of praise for a job well done, then just words of love. Eclair would twist her head around to look directly into Laura’s eyes. It was an incredible gesture of trust and love between the cow and her keeper. She did it over and over. We eventually carried the dead calf over to Eclair’s head. She sniffed and began licking it. She licked its ribs, its belly, its neck. I think she knew she couldn’t revive it, but just like me rubbing the wet newborn’s ribs over and over, she couldn’t help but keep trying. She would lick for a few minutes and then look into Laura’s eyes and then lay her head down and rest. She kept this up for awhile as we all continued to mourn. We gave Eclair some homeopathics to help with the pain and to tighten her uterus. We brought her warm water in a small dish and handfuls of sweet hay. Eventually we pushed and pulled her onto her feet and left her to finish cleaning the sweet, soft fur of her baby girl.