I have always wanted to see a calf be born, and I finally got the chance! (You’ll have to deal with amateur cell phone pictures since I was holding William and left picture duty to Elliana or tried to taking them with one hand while bouncing a baby.)
Our main purpose for the outing to my in-laws’ (a.k.a. the local petting zoo) was to see the new lambs. When we arrived two heifers were almost ready to have their babies, so we piled three adults and six kids into a pickup and went to check things out. Don’t fret – we didn’t have far to go since they keep these first time mamas close to the house.
See those hooves on the way out? We watched this heifer for over a half hour. She was working hard but not making progress. After a little bit, we did see the calves pink tongue sticking out, but then it turned purple and we called for Darin to come. He calmly walked behind her and guided her into the barn.
Imagine yourself in this situation. I would’ve been like a frantic, spastic, crazy woman (like I am any time all of us are trying to go somewhere). Darin acted like he was going for a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park. He’s clearly done this more than once.
Katie, our tour guide, said if the cow is off by herself, Darin can sometimes just walk up behind and try pulling the calf out right there, a hefty tug is all that’s needed. This one wasn’t off by herself and she needed more than a little pull.Somehow he got her with her head in the contraption that doesn’t let her back out. Please notice the nice long gloves Darin put on before you look at the next picture.
Since the hooves were out and the head right next to them, Darin tried to push it back in to see if it would help if more leg could come out before the head. That’s at least how I understood it. Ask a real veterinarian or rancher for clarity.
Then he tried just pulling with his hands as hard as he could. This is where Wyatt determined that he would not become a veterinarian and decided to go check out the sheep.Pulling by hand didn’t work, so Darin (still as calm as can be) went and got the chain contraption. He attached the chain to the calf hoof and to a lever. Physics at work.
He cranked the lever and the calf came on out.
It didn’t start crying like we would expect a human new baby to do, but it was fine. Darin tickled its nose with some straw to make sure to get it breathing. He moved the calf and its mom into stall into the barn to make sure the new mama would take care of her calf before sending them back out with the rest of the heifers. I had to go take care of my hungry baby so I didn’t get to stick around to see it standing up and dried off. What I did get to see what rather impressive!
If you have questions, let me know and I’ll find the answers.
As for pictures of sheep…