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.