Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Farmyard Obstetrics

My day started as it often does, with a call from Farm Buddy.  She was worried about Mable, this poor ewe...

Mable was acting like she was in labor, but FB wasn't sure how long it had been going on.  This led, inevitably, to our oft repeated conversation about how long to wait before interfering.  After much hemming and hawing, we decided to wait a bit more and see if Mable got on with the job without help.

Ten minutes later, I got another call - Mable had started to lamb and my help was not required.

Ten minutes after that, call number three, my help was definitely required.  Apparently inspired by all these lambs, Jane, FB's milk cow, had decided to unexpectedly have her calf several days early.  Jane is an excellent milk cow, enabling FB's dairy addiction.  However, she is a HORRIBLE mother.

Jane is perhaps the most neurotic cow I have ever met.  She is addicted to the oxytocin high she gets from being milked and will follow FB around nagging to be milked, but she is totally freaked out by the existence of her own calves. The only way to safely deal with her is to quickly separate mother and baby.  This is not the way we like to raise things around here, but, as FB wants the milk anyway, it works in this one instance.

Jane is also enormous, fast and extremely unpredictable during these times.  She had also managed to have her calf out in the mud with the rest of the herd all in a frenzy around her.  With the memory of my hay supplier friend who was killed last year by one of his mom-cows fresh in our memory, I headed over to the farm to help.

We got Jane captured and put into the barn with only  a minimal amount of drama and then initiated emergency calf-transport procedures...

We got this guy dried off and into a cozy spot in the barn...

...put Jane in the stall next to the pigs because even these monsters are no match for Jane.

Meanwhile, Mable had indeed gotten on with the job.

Since she had things well in hand, we got Jane milked out and transferred that milk, with its all important colostrum, into its proper container....

Sailing on her oxy high, and away from her space-alien baby, Jane calmed down and settled in to enjoy her molasses water and a big pile of second cutting hay.  To heck with babies, Jane knows what her priorities are.

Since all the maternity wards were full, poor Mable ended up having to share her delivery room.

Later on, after some more adjustments, she was moved to a private room free of bovine interference.

The calf has had two more bottles of milk today, crack-headed Jane is happy in her little world of oxytocin highs, free from terrifying calves, and the sheep are all content.  There is only one more ewe left to lamb and then no more babies expected until June when the rest of the cows calve.  That will be the end of the farmyard obstetrics for this year.




18 comments:

  1. Thanks to Kris for all the great help today! I am exhausted but intact, which might not have been the situation without Kris' help!

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    1. This was almost a perfect post except no pic of crazy Jane who, although not maternal seems to push out fine looking calves. And those two lambs look enormous!
      Well done FB and Kris and congrats to Jane and Mabel.

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    2. Although those lambs look very similar, Mabel's ram lamb is much, much heavier than her ewe lamb. I did help pull out the ram lamb, but it was not too difficult.

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  2. wow. That sounds like quite the day. I hope that the calf is okay being 'orphaned' so young.

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  3. Wow! Never a dull moment in upstate New York. FB, Jane may well do you harm someday. Any thoughts on replacing her with a more "normal" cow?

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    1. Jane is really a great cow. She is extremely easy to milk, and I milk her twice a day out on the pasture without a halter or anything! She does get very, very nervous and upset when the calf is born, but I do not think she would hurt me; although, I always get someone to help me separate her from the calf just in case. I am nervous about it, as I know new mom cows can be very dangerous.

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  4. Whew! He is some fine calf! I had a couple of beef cows who took "nudging" their calves to get up to a near death level. They would calm down though. I can't believe how cool the lambs are, I used to have appaloosa horses and the one lamb is an Appaloosa! I have to ask how old is the barn. The rubbing along the planks is awesome! Get rested and thank our both for the wonderful post.

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    1. My barn was originally seventy foot long and was built sometime around the civil war. Another seventy-foot section was added in 1952.

      I agree that the Appaloosa lamb is something else! I think that one is the ewe lamb, and I think I might keep her. Then I will have a total of eight ewes, and that is enough for me!

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  5. When it rains, it pours! By the size of Mable I thought for sure she had 3 buns in the oven. Glad it was only two. At least she can feed them on her own. Crack head Jane, LOL!

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  6. Nice job!! "All's well that ends well."

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  7. So happy to hear everyone is healthy and happy :)

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  8. Farm life is anything but boring! I had to laugh about "crackhead" Jane, but it really does make having calves a lot more work when she doesn't do her job. The calf looks strong and big. Oh my, that poor ewe! She looked huge, but very happy to hear all came out as intended. Whew! Good work you two.

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  9. Wow - quite the post! At least no donkey foals to worry about - lol! Mind you, there is NOTHING cuter, just sayin'

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    1. Maremma puppies are DEFINITELY cuter!!!

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  10. Loved the story but kinda glad I wasn't in the middle of the drama. I might not have kept as calm as need be.
    Whew!

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  11. So many sweet babies....and I love Farm Buddy's barn.

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  12. Great documenting & photos of a slice of farm life!!! Not for the faint of heart. Lucky animals to have such good caretakers.

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