Yesterday was a busy day for us! We had three beef calves and one dairy calf born and they were all bulls! We were happy about the beefers being bulls but were very disappointed that we ended up with another bull calf from the Jerseys. I tried to do a quick tally in my head and all total I think that makes 18 bulls and five heifers from our Jerseys and JerseyX calves in the last four years. Not good odds. And all those calves came from a total of four different bulls. This was our first "AI" calf born on the farm. So, since we are getting all the bulls, that means someone out there will be getting heifers!
Besides all the calves being born, Mike and I were hosting the first course of a progressive dinner and I had been busy in the kitchen all day preparing for that. I had noticed that Emmy was looking close yesterday morning but did not think she would go for a few more days. Also, there had been some confusion on when she was due. Originally we thought she was due the 10th and then determined she was due the 25th. So, I really was not expecting a calf for a few more days anyway. Her udder was tight but her teats were not filled in yesterday morning. Her ligaments were loose but not anywhere near as loose as they normally get before calving. There was no mucus discharge other than just a dribble that I saw about five days ago. She was acting normal and hanging out with the rest of the cows/heifers so I just didn't give it much thought until we saw the calf on the ground! We saw her and the calf just getting to his feet about the time our company arrived. All the cows and heifers had gathered around to welcome the new little one. Apple was trying to claim the calf as her own. Emmy was trying to find a spot to take him where she could be alone. The scene was a traffic stopper as folks were headed into the house to get their appetizers. Poor Mike had just vaccinated and banded three beef calves and taken a shower and had to go back out in the horrible mud left from all the rain we got in the past few days. He put Emmy and the calf in a private shelter and came back in the house to wash off and help me with the company. I don't know how good of a host I was because I was frantic to get outside and check on things. The folks only stayed about 45 minutes because they had to go to the next house for the next course of their meal but we were later than usual getting outside to milk.
Baby would not get a hold of a teat. Emmy's teats are smaller than my other Jersey's teats and the little guy just could not latch on and keep it in his mouth. At first he was not even interested. So, Mike milked out a little colostrum and we gave it to him in a bottle. He took to the bottle really fast and seemed hungry. Mike milked out a little more and gave him after which he began to try to nurse on his own from Emmy but still was having a hard time keeping the teats in his mouth. She does have some edema, so I am hoping as the swelling goes down, it will be easier for him and for us. Emmy is a heifer and did great with the birth and stood for us and the baby at first with Mike on one side milking her a bit to get the colostrum and me on the other side with the calf trying to get him to nurse. We did not have her tied and I did not have a halter on her. She grew tired of us messing with her and went out of the shelter in a huff. When we tried to get her back in, even enticing her with grain, she would not go. She would not let me get near her to put her halter on her and would not go back in the shed. She got pretty agitated at one point but we finally got her back inside and she stood just fine for us after that. I think her hormones were just in a rage and with everything being new, she just got agitated because after that she was fine. She lifted her foot a couple of times but never tried to kick us or the baby. It was a horrible mess outside with the mud and I was covered in mud and manure by the time we got back inside. I then had to clean up from our dinner party at which point I dropped an empty bowl into a larger bowl filled with salsa. That sent salsa splattering about five feet away where it coated the wall and the floor.
Emmy was a champ this morning. We had only had her in the stanchion once and had never got around to turning the milker on while she was in there. So this was the first time she actually had even heard the sound of the milker. She stood great and only raised her leg a couple of times at first but never really tried to kick.
She stands for the calf and I think he's nursing now. We tried to get him to take the bottle but he didn't want it. Since he drank from the bottle last night with gusto and is hopping around all over the place this morning, I assume he is nursing all right.
Apple is insanely jealous. She stands at the fence and bawls and bawls. If the calf goes over to the fence she tries to lick him through the gate. We may have trouble with her trying to steal him from Emmy. I thought at first she was upset because she was separated from Emmy but it's obvious now that she wants Emmy's calf.