Here’s the funny thing. They no longer came as a surprise. With so much activity in the fields around us, we could now be very vigilant in our work.
There are certain things to do when cows are calving. First, of course, is to see that that baby’s presentation looks correct and all goes well through the birth canal. Calves are born face-first and tucked between two forefeet facing straight ahead.
|Umbilical cord visible mid-tummy on calf|
Sterilizing is a tricky operation. I don’t mean it’s hard—it isn’t.
To sterilize the navel, we must go out in the pasture, turn the calf on its back, and spray a little iodine on what’s left of the umbilical cord.
Calves are fairly light-weight, easy to turn, so what’s the problem?
Mama is the problem. New mothers don’t like anyone touching their babies. You probably know this, and we do too. So to perform this task we need to get under her radar.
From my location with the mama I see the driver’s door open, and watch as Davis takes one large stride, leans down, flips the 75 pound calf, and sanitizes the open wound where the umbilical cord was torn during birth.
He checks the sex of the animal and records all signs of health.
Within two minutes he’s safely back into the truck, mother cow has not been bothered, and we move on to look for others.
Other times the calf is so well hidden, we have trouble finding it ourselves. When mothers notice that you’re getting near their hidden calves they panic, so you can tell when you’re getting close to a hidden calf.
We were just trying to keep up with life itself.
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