Sunday, July 5, 2009

Silly heifer

I mentioned on Saturday that the cows that are due to give birth are grazing in the paddock around my house at the moment. A number of them are heifers, due to experience birth for the first time. Like some females of the human variety they get confused by what they are feeling. When the mothering instinct kicks in they obviously don't know what it is.

This heifer spent most of the afternoon staring longingly over the fence at my dog. She would drift off to graze but kept coming back. When Lewey moved she would follow him, she just couldn't get enough of him.

I talked to her a bit, telling her that she would have one just like him real soon (he is roughly the same size as a new born calf, so the mix up was understandable) but she totally ignored me. I wasn't surprised when I looked out a bit later and there was a freshly born calf at her feet.

However, about 5 minutes after that when I heard bellowing, I immediately went to investigate. It didn't sound right. It's hard to explain what does and doesn't sound right, you just grow to know over time I guess.

The new mother was distraught, her calf had managed to get through the fence and was in my back yard. She was pacing the fence line calling to it but the dopey thing on his wobbly legs was going every way but back to her.

I gave him a few pushes in the right direction and eventually got him back on the right side of the fence (grateful the electric fence wasn't turned on!).

She was so happy to have her baby back! Fell upon him to finish cleaning him up.

And she obviously realized the calf was a much better baby than she thought my dog had been because when he went near, she charged at him!


  1. I LOVE this story! I had no idea that their behavior was so longing and caring. Does that stay with the mother as the calf grows? It seems to me that they are very independent animals, but I don't know a whole lot about them.

  2. Left to their own devices cows generally do stay loving mothers, Audrey. With dairy farming, though, we take the calf from the cow as soon as it is born. The calf in this story was separated from its mother about an hour after I took the shots. Seems cruel, I know, but the cows adjust to the loss very quickly.


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