I Asked Her To Let Him Live

Two days before Easter, I found myself crouched down in a make shift pen beside a very pregnant and very sick Jersey cow.

“Your too late,” my brother had told me. Another momma cow had given birth the night before to a bull calf. They were both healthy and well in a birthing pen on the other side of the barn. But this Jersey cow had laid down a few weeks ago and despite the advice of the vet and the medications to keep her from getting pneumonia, I could hear the gurgle in her breath.

I can’t say I blame her. Had I gotten that big, I think I’d lay down too and get so heavy I couldn’t stand up on my own. Of course, over the stretch of weeks my brother had lifted her to her feet, but she refused to stand.

Now, on what many people call “Good Friday” I ran my hand down over this cow’s cheek and messaged one of her ears.

Easter is a story of life. It’s the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection. Yet, many of us forget it all started with his death.

As I moved closer to this momma cow, I ran my hand down her neck and pressed my hand into her bulging stomach. It pressed back. There was a little life inside this Jersey cow waiting to enter this world. What would happen if this momma died before her baby was born?

So I asked her, “For the sake of the life inside you, please let him live before you die.”

I guess it’s pretty silly talking to cows. No more sillier then a horse whisperer talking to a horse. If they can whisper to horses, I can talk to cows.

Whether it was the words I’d spoken to her, or the fact the next morning marked this calf’s due date, I’ll never know. What I do know is when I heard the alarm and the coffee pot perk in the morning I was ready to stay in bed. Then I changed my mind. Not living as close to the farm anymore, I knew my opportunity to go back down the farm may not come later that day and so I hauled my butt out of bed and jumped in the truck with my dad to go down to the farm.

It was one of the coldest days’ we’ve had since the last snow.

Before I even got into the door of the milk house, my brother was there. “You’ll need to grab some gloves and go deliver a calf. That is unless you want to milk the cows while I do it.”

I grabbed some gloves.

Her water had broken and tiny hooves were pressing out. Momma cow was trying, but she needed a little help.

I won’t go into the birthing details, as I know some of you are a little faint of heart. I don’t blame you. There are some things that gross me out, too.

So here he is.

celebration of life

I didn’t know it would be a “him” until after he was born.

For now, all that matters is that he lives.

To be continued…

 

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Meet Banana Leigh

Yesterday when we called the cows in for milking, we got a pleasant surprise. Another heifer had dropped her calf.

Yeah, we knew she was coming.

We hate to put these expecting dames in pens when they could be in the field enjoy grass and sunlight for the day as they draw near their due dates.

Since the dames in our herd don’t usually kiss and tell, we can only make an educational guess when their calves will come due. We have the vet in regularly and have them checked. Even the vet is making his best guess based on the cows size and an internal exam. Our vet is pretty close most times, but no one is perfect.

This little heifer calf was born sometime during the day. She was dry and frisky as she ran circles around her momma on the way to the barn from the pasture.

Meet Banana Leigh,

holstein calf

The kids named her, we’ve nick named her “Nana” for short.

Soon, she’ll get a number tag for in her ear and she’ll continued to get lots of attention from her young care givers.

Tomorrow, she’ll take up residence in one of the farm’s new calf huts.

calf hut

That’s my chore, setting it up and getting her and getting last week’s calf settled into their new digs.

This is the first time I can remember that we’ve had calf huts on the farm.

When I was a child, I used to carry to bottles under my arms and we had one large pen I’d go in to feed all the babies. It was my job to take care of the babies, and it looks like I’ve been appointed the job again. Only this time, I’ve got my young assistants to help spoil the livestock.