February 10, 2009

a miracle in the barn

Last night's big full moon in a clear cold sky brought a little miracle.
When I came to check on Curls before going to bed, her water had broken and a little foot, and the tip of a second foot were responding to her pushes, out an inch or 2 but when she stood they disappeared back into her. I had a feel inside to see that the calf was in the right position. The legs looked twisted and for a minute I thought I was looking at two right feet and had a tangle of twins,

But I could feel the calf's head just behind and above the front legs: he was aligned just right.

The contractions were coming every couple of minutes and she was pushing without much rest, breathing short quick breathes...exhausted. When both feet were out again a few inches I helped pulled the legs out a few inches and the next contraction brought little calf's tongue and chin out into the cold, the rest of his face sheathed by the tissue of Curl's bum. So I pulled as she pushed as that head came gradually out.
Once his head was out, it was a stream of wet hot calf into the straw. He wasn't blowing his nostrils out through the mucous though, he was silent and still. Curls was exhausted. So I cleaned the mucous off his nose and rubbed him down with a towel. He took some breaths and made a wee sound.

This little moo changed everything for Curls. She swung around without getting up and the both of us cleaned the wet as best we could off the little fellow until he stopped shivering. Every little sound he made was greeted with a moo. This is the first time I've heard Curls moo. Mooing is for moms!
Every once in a while Curls would lift her head off the beloved calf and lick my hat. She loves him and seems to be an excellent Mom.

I stayed up until he was walking which took a couple of hours. Curls didn't eat the afterbirth which I've seen before. As soon as he was on his feet, Curl's intuition kicked in and she mooed, nuzzled and licked him toward her, under her legs and to her teats. He found the teats within a few minutes.

When I bought the Heifers in May, I was told they had been with a young Belted Galloway bull (these are a small breed Cattle), and indeed now that looks like thats true.

The full moon seems to have a powerful effect on birthing, perhaps its the moon's gravitational pull effecting the "amniotic fluid in much the same way as it effects the water in the sea, rivers and even the water that's otherwise found in our bodies". here


Isabelle said...

Wow! S/he is a little sweetie ... looks just like Mom. Congratulations on a successful delivery.

anne said...


Its a he. This is bitter sweet actually, as its difficult to name the boys...i.e... T-Bone would be apt.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

I have not pulled a calf in forever. Thanks for sharing this story.

Ruralrose said...

congratulations Anne, thanks for sharing, i love reading about real life, peace

anne said...

Bringing home the personal is scary a bit given the industry lurkers here. And I'm just a poor, simple farmer (nothing heroic here) But you know, as real as the seeds I just sowed in flats in the lightroom, is the reality of gmo transference or toxic nanoparticles. They are, for me, equally real.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Beautiful baby! Congratulations :)

Ruralrose said...

it is a truth of life, the unseen is more real and more powerful than real life, this symmetry is not lost in your words, i too am a farmer, simple and poor, bombarded every day with the callous way we defile the sacred, i literally cried today reading the new drought numbers, i cried yesterday for other happenings, i am fiercely afraid for the future it feels as if we are lost in a bad B movies from the 80's - i do not ignore degradation of this world - it is when I see something in my day that gives me hope and brings me back to knowing i honor the majesty of nature, i can pause and exhale and i find this relief in your words -

Anonymous said...

What a handsome boy! Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful event.