Thursday, May 29, 2014

Our miracle baby!

Two years ago we got a big surprise when our heifer, #41 had her calf, a Hereford! Her daddy is half Angus and half Hereford but all the cows are Angus so we never expected this.

New born baby, still wet and sticky.
Who couldn't love a face like this? I immediately christened her 'Fancy' and made it known that I would settle for nothing less than a future cow. Luckily Bruce agreed.

This is Fancy last fall with her grown up #9 ear tag, pregnant and in with the rest of the cows, she is just as gentle as she looks.

Fancy at the maternity gate, "Oohing and Aahing" over the first new baby of the year.

All our heifers were supposed to calve in March but Louie didn't get the job done on time. That is why he had to suffer the indignities at the vet office one Saturday morning that was chronicled in an earlier blog post.
One by one the heifers all had their babies except the one who apparently did not get bred and only Fancy was left. She finally started making a bag but nothing made us think a birth was imminent.
Yesterday after dinner, Bruce and I went to Cherokee to get fishing licenses and advance tickets to the rodeo. He asked if I needed to go anywhere else, I could have gone to the store but didn't feel like it, we still have milk and that's the most important. I brought the loader home with me that morning while he was golfing to do some cleanup. Bruce said he wanted it sometime that afternoon because he needed to clean the yard where the remaining pregnant cows and 3 bulls were. I told him to go ahead and take the loader home, I'd use it later, so he left with it. I no more stepped into the house and the phone rang, it was Bruce.

"Come NOW! Fancy's in labor and in trouble!"

Have you heard of the personality test, Retriever, Lion and something else? Our niece, Christine was telling us about it, she said she is the Retriever because when someone says, "GO!", she goes, she does not stop and ask why or ponder the situation. 

I must also be a retriever because I'm not even sure I shut the phone off and was out the door without even a "Goodday Mate." My Fancy was in trouble!

She was laying in a pile of corn stalks, panting rapidly, it was hot out and obviously she had been trying for some time. We got her in the barn and brought out the calving jack. Bruce was trying to get the OB chains on the feet and he could tell it was a huge calf. He found one foot and then the nose with the tongue hanging out appeared. He groaned, "I think it's dead." There is nothing more demoralizing than pulling a dead calf, we have done it once this year. He finally found the other foot but there wasn't much room and Fancy had gone down which made it harder. He finally got the chains to stay on both feet, I positioned the jack and he started cranking, the calf slowly emerged and I saw the tongue straighten, I hoped it wasn't just a reflex. Bruce was working the jack as fast as he could, I helped, it seemed like we weren't getting anywhere when suddenly the hips appeared and she was out.

I cleared her nose of the sack and some fluid ran out, Bruce said to tickle it with a straw, he was busy removing the chains. Fancy was still down and had no intention of getting up. The calf sneezed and took a breath, then another, she rolled her eyes and sucked her swollen tongue into her mouth.


We carried her out of the way into a pile of shucks and went back to Fancy. He opened the headgate but she still had no desire to get up. I rubbed her head, she smelled my arm, which was covered in her baby's fluid and licked me, that was a good sign. I took all the ob stuff out to clean it up and when I got back, Bruce had Fancy up and she was smelling the calf and "M,M,M,M-ing," just what we want to hear.

That calf was amazing, for that tough a birth, she was so alert and within 5 minutes she was struggling to sit up on her chest. Fancy was intent on cleaning her up and making her respectable for all the visitors she was sure would be coming later.

With gifts.

We looked in both of them several times that afternoon and by evening the baby was up and nursing and took a big dump, a great sign that things were moving. This morning baby #9 has her own ear tag, is clean and shiny was a newly minted coin.

And very sweet!

This is the calf puller, the first time a vet came to our house for a difficult birth and unloaded this out of his truck, I went to the house. I didn't want to be anywhere near when he used it, it looked like an instrument of torture. I have come to accept it and I even used it myself once when Bruce wasn't home and everything has it's place.

The 'U' shaped iron goes behind the cow's back end for something to pull against, the blue end is the jack, it is usually about 18 inches or so from the 'U' iron, the OB chains are laying there and hook to that piece sticking out on the left side. When everything is in place, you jack slowly but firmly with the blue lever. This calf was so big, Bruce was at the end of the jack when she finally came out, the end of the line!


It saved this beautiful calf, she is a girl so I'm already thinking she should be a future cow, and our lovely Fancy, neither seem any worse for wear after all that drama.

But we were haunted with the 'what if's'?

What if we'd decided to dink around in town?

What if I'd insisted on keeping the tractor here when we got home?

What if Bruce was not so focused on cleaning their yard?

I truly believe these were no accidents, that God had a hand in guiding us yesterday. We were where we were supposed to be.

Thank you, God.

1 comment:

  1. I'm very happy with you that the calf was born alive and accepted by the lovely Fancy. I remember seeing Bruce and vet Mark pulling a calf, I have never seen anything so tortuous, I had to keep turning away. It is a miracle indeed that you guys were there at the right time. Bruce must have been exhausted if he was at the end of the line with that jack, what a lot of work!! For both of you!!!!