We’ve been expecting Chestnut to have her baby any day for about a month at least. She had the “heavily pregnant lady waddle” and every day looked about to have her baby within the next few hours, but somehow managed to look even more pregnant and ready to calve the next day.
On Friday when we went out for the chores (I came along this time – luckily!), I was getting ready to work in my garden when I noticed her in the little woodland area at the top. She was making the soft, low little mooing sounds they talk to their babies with (it’s so sweet – just like we coo to our babies in certain voices, they also have a special tone of voice to talk to their babies). I walked a little closer and saw she had the afterbirth hanging out. I went back and told Mirin and Rose, who were helping in the garden.
Mirin’s first response was to leap around and shout at the top of his lungs excitedly that we should all go see, until I shushed him. It’s not a sports match, it’s a birth. She was off by herself to be alone, not be shouted and jumped at. I went ahead, and they followed (kind of) quietly. I brought her a flake of hay, which she really appreciated, but it eventually brought the rest of the herd over to investigate, which was annoying to both her and us.
The calf was already on his feet and licked clean and dry. He looks to be extra fluffy – against the cold weather, I suppose. We got a cold front through the other day, and it’s been (relatively) cool. That same evening, as we piled into the truck to go home, Rose and Mirin were huddling up together and saying it was “freezing.” The thermometer on the truck said 64F, so it’s not really that cold, just chilly if you are used to temperatures in the 80’s.
The special thing about the calf was that he turned out with a white tip on his tail, and one white foot – the Jersey influence, I suppose. Otherwise he has the Devon face, but the Jersey legs. I guess we’re getting weird hybrid types at this point. But he’s big and healthy, and seems to be finding his way around Chestnut’s huge udder.
Clothilde was very impressed by the afterbirth, which came out finally when we were there. It can take a while, and it hangs out and drags around while the mama cow is busy getting her baby licked off and helping it nurse. “Mama’s meat coming out,” she said about it. We pointed out the baby’s cord hanging down, and told her all about the placenta. I thought it was funny she would call it “meat,” because it is mostly membrane, with chunks of placenta hanging off of it. But she is used to seeing animals field-dressed, with lots of membrane and organs. Very different from what I thought of as “meat” when I was a little girl!