I really did not feel that she looked close to calving and would not have made the midnight trek to the barn to check on her except that we were getting so much rain and I could not sleep thinking "What if she did have a calf out in this weather?" Sometimes when you least expect it is when they calve and the "what ifs" kept running through my head. Princess got a big fat "F" in motherhood class when she first started out last year. She had the calf and ignored him. She did not dry him off and would not accept him. I had to fight with her over a period of several days to get her to actually let him nurse. (I almost lost him due to cold and not being able to get any colostrum in him right away.) I had a number of folks suggest I just bottle feed the calf, but I refused. I was determined that Princess was going to at least graduate her first year of motherhood with a "C". We had such a battle. I would have to tie her up close and force her to let the baby nurse at first. She would kick me and the baby. The baby would follow her around and try to nurse and she would kick and stomp him into the dirt. This was my Princess. This was the little cow that had been born on this farm and whom I had turned into a big pet. This was the cow that would reach up with her nose and let me give her kisses. This was the cow I could wrap my arms around and hug. Hormones had turned her into a major witch!
Thank goodness over time, Princess became a wonderful mother and earned an "A" before her first calf was raised. She loved him dearly and would lick him and learned to let him nurse. However, I am not taking any chances that she might once again become overwhelmed (or just plain hateful) and neglect this year's calf. Thus, I have been keeping a close eye on her.
Of course, while I was checking on Princess, it gave me a chance to check on the chicks as well. We lost another two (for a total of four now). These two were not in the tub of chicks that got wet (they are all doing great.) I guess they were just weak and finally gave up (although I did not notice any of them that looked suspect.) If one is going to lose any due to stress and weakness, it is usually during the first three days. So, I have my fingers crossed that we won't lose anymore (at least until we start battling predators when they are turned out).
|The baby appears to have dropped. I can see her ribs now.|