Brownie's Calf

We were under flash flood warning number four for the week. The thunder was loud, the lightening was angry, and the rain stung. I really didn’t want to go back outside, but it was 10pm and time to check the cows.

Just steps from the door I caught Brownie’s silhouetted against the hill. She was a perfect pear shape and I knew immediately that she had calved. With such harsh weather, we needed to get Brownie and her calf under cover as soon as possible. I raced up the hill to Brownie and started looking for the calf. Cows are notorious for hiding their young. I checked under the bushes -- no calf. I checked behind the rock pile -- no calf. I checked back with Brownie -- still no calf. I paused by the gully to call in reinforcements and glanced into the water below. Just inches from the stream was the calf. In an effort to keep her calf hidden, Brownie had pushed it under the fence, over the bank, and into the gully.

My husband is part superhero. I think all farmers are. He scrambled down the bank, hoisted the wet calf onto his shoulders, and climbed back up. Less than an hour old, she wasn’t quite able to stand, so he carried her down the hill to warmth and shelter. We dried her off and tried to bring Brownie in so that the calf could have her first drink of colostrum.

The calf wasn’t yet strong enough to call for her mother, so Chris took over. Bleat Bleat Bleat. Brownie cocked her head. Bleat Bleat Brownie started down the hill. Bleat Bleat Brownie stopped. Not willing to leave the spot she gave birth. Patiently, Chris kept up his calf cries. Slowly, Brownie walked down the hill. Warm and dry, Besame stood and drank the first milk from Brownie. 

 

Besame got the hang of nursing by the time she was 12 hours old. While we prefer to give our calves bottles, it was most important that we get colostrum into her as quickly as possible. 

Besame got the hang of nursing by the time she was 12 hours old. While we prefer to give our calves bottles, it was most important that we get colostrum into her as quickly as possible. 

New Moon Farm 5533 Stockbridge Falls Road Munnsville, NY 13409 (315)495-6504 newmoondairyfarms@gmail.com

Background image: Carolina testing the theory that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence