Dixie Calves Again

The last day or two have been totally gorgeous. Cooler temps, low humidity. That fall feeling is in the air.

I’ve been keeping an eye on my house cow, Dixie. She’s been getting close to calving and I figured that she’d have the calf this week.

Milk cow calvings always make me a little nervous. My jerseys are delicate and you just never know how things will go.

Last night, Dixie began showing signs of impending calving. When I got up at midnight she was quietly chewing her cud. I figured it would be a few hours, so I went back to bed.

I woke up at 5:15 and hiked out to the field to see what was going on. It was still dark and the heavy dew on the grass chilled my legs as I walked down the hill through the tall grass. When I found her, I could just see the feet and part of the calf’s head. Dixie was doing fine but the calf looked a little distressed. I started pulling to help her out. Soon the calf slid out into the cool morning.

It was still, a little too still, so I began roughly rubbing and pressing on the chest to stimulate it to breathe.

A cough.

I kept rubbing and there was another cough.

A Rattling breath and then another.

I continued my ministrations and after a few minutes the calf lifted its head and shook it. The big ears flapped wryly.

I grabbed him by the front legs and dragged him over near Dixie’s head. She responded eagerly and began roughly bathing him with her tongue. I looked at his south end–a bull calf!

I returned to the house to let them bond, but I kept checking from the front porch.

After an hour, Dixie still hadn’t gotten up so I returned. After just a little coaxing she stood up. I helped the calf stand and guided his searching mouth to a teat that was already dripping with colostrum. He knew just what to do, but still needed help to stand.

Dixie did great! I’ll be milking out some colostrum for the freezer later today, and in a few days, I’ll be back in the milk business.

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