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Just NEVER Fails!!!...Babies

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posted on Apr, 17 2016 @ 10:37 PM
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It just never, ever, fails; every single year they pick the absolute WORST weather, in the absolute WORST location...and that's when they do it!

Oh BTW...we're talking about calves here (as in 'Cow' babies). ...

Over the past two nights we've had one of the worst snowstorms in history. Heavy wet snow measuring in "feet". All day I had my fingers crossed hoping for no calves today or tonight. We've got 5+ ready to go. Well, tonight around 6pm the matriarch decided it was time. One problem...she did this all the way up in our high pasture, at the furthest point. The first hike up the hill through 14+ inches of mud thick wet snow was exhausting. The main mission was to make sure everything was going okay for momma.

It was starting to get dark and had begun to snow again (grrreat!!). My wife and I got to within 50' or so and a quick check through the binoculars revealed momma was having problems! Now it was "ALL HANDS ON DECK!!". I humped it back down the hillside through the snow (running as best I could), ran in the house and loaded up a backpack with the emergency obstetrics stuff (pulling irons, ropes, shoulder gloves, towels, antiseptics, etc.) . By then it was completely dark. I loaded up my gear on the ATV and headed out back up the hill. The wife stayed behind to see if she could get the rest of the cows in the corrals. The snow drifts were so deep she couldn't close the gate, so she had to make a makeshift gate closure with shovel stuck in the snow and the gate chained to it.

In the process of the wife struggling with the gate, one of the other newborn calves escaped through a feed bunk and was completely outside the fence (just wonderful!!). By the time she got back up to me and told me about the calf being out...coyotes lit off howling on all four sides of me! DAMMIT!!! There were coyotes everywhere, all around us! Really? What next??? Well, it wasn't over yet!

About this same time the cows and our herd bull down below figured out the jerry-rigged gate and got through it. So now Jack, our herd bull, and the rest of the cows were headed back up the hill to where we were. Jack charged my wife a little in the dark and she spooked and headed for the boundary fence. Coyotes were all around us now, and our matriarch cow was having birth problems.

So I had to leave the ATV and head back down the hill on foot through the snow again, in the dark, to find the escaped calf and try to get it back inside the fence. Of course her momma was having a complete meltdown by now and ready to kill anything in sight. Extremely dangerous situation...on foot, in the dark, in deep wet snow, with a pissed off momma, a mad herd bull and a whole herd of cows trying to protect everything.

Once at the bottom of the hill I found the calf behind a haystack about a 100 yards from the corrals and, after several attempts, managed to wrangle her back into the pasture with her momma. (one crisis averted). Then it was back up the hill again to our birthing matriarch. By the time I made it back up the hill a mile or so to the ATV the cows were all busily munching on everything on the ATV. In my rush, I'd stuck some towels I wanted to keep dry inside of an empty feed sack and rolled it up (mistake). They all thought I brought them a bag of feed and were eating the ATV. Chased them and Jack off finally and got back to momma cow giving birth. My wife had exited the pasture about 45 minutes before and was keeping an eye on momma from distance with a light from out in an adjacent field.

I was literally kneeling down in the snow and laying across the seat of the ATV gasping for air and trying to catch my breath at this point. (btw...we're at 7,300 feet above sea level). I caught my breath, took a drink of water, put my pack on and started marching over to where momma cow was. As I was walking I was rigging up a hobble out of rope and trying to figure out a plan. Right then, my wife hollered out..."She righted the calf!! She just gave birth!!! It's ALIVE!!" I actually just stuck my hand up to let her know I heard her in the wind and driving snow...then just collapsed on the ground in the snow.

By the time I got all the gear rounded back up and secured, went over to pick up my wife at the gate on the ATV and we headed back toward the house it had been about 4 hours of non-stop intensity. I was feeling bad earlier for not working out today, but it was such a crummy day I just didnt' feel like it. I don't feel bad anymore.

It will be a long night tonight still. It's been about 45 minutes now since the calf was born. We left her (momma) up there to bond with her calf, get it cleaned up and nursing. Before long I'll need to head back up the hill again to get the calf. There's no way it will be able to make it back to the corrals through the snow, not tonight. Then most of the rest of the night will be spent making sure the damn coyotes stay away.

Every single year we go through this. They calve in the absolute worst weather, at the worst possible time in the most awful location.

But you know what, seeing those little ones skip around every spring is worth it all.




edit on 4/17/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 17 2016 @ 10:50 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

All I can say is that was beautiful.



posted on Apr, 17 2016 @ 11:14 PM
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What a great post!

Reminds me of the book, "All Creatures Great and Small" about a country vet working in the Yorkshire dales (Northern England) back in the 1930's and 40's...
...he describes many such nights as the one you had.

if you've never read it, I highly recommend (very funny book)



posted on Apr, 17 2016 @ 11:56 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

We have goats and they always seem to pick the worst weather to have their babies too.



posted on Apr, 18 2016 @ 12:13 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Wow, what a night! Blame Murphy? His law, and all that, lol!

Every year, eh? Maybe something about the weather triggers cow birth hormones? That, or just the timing. Either way, enjoyable read, from my nice comfy living room. They have to be a blessing, but, boy the work you have to put in!



posted on Apr, 18 2016 @ 01:14 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

You are a wonderful storyteller and this one warms the heart. Have a restful night and enjoy tomorrow.



posted on Apr, 18 2016 @ 02:17 AM
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It dont get no better than that...
. A day of country life...sometimes I still long for those "Good Ol Days"



posted on Apr, 18 2016 @ 06:44 AM
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Have ya ever noticed that, slogging through wet snow, mud up to your knees or the hardest work you've ever done, is what you look back on and miss when it's gone? That physical challenge of putting food on the table by the sweat running down your back and hands so sore they feel like they're gonna fall off?
Gimme wide open spaces, mountains to climb or mud up to my ass any day, over sitting in an office.



posted on Apr, 18 2016 @ 06:52 AM
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Right then, my wife hollered out..."She righted the calf!! She just gave birth!!! It's ALIVE!!"


That made me tear up! So glad it all worked out, even though it wasn't so fun! I hope you slept well after all was said and done,



posted on Apr, 18 2016 @ 07:30 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

so, I gather insomnia isn't one of your main issues?

At the end of a day like that, if you can stay awake long enough to enjoy it, deserves a cold beer. Since you likely weren't able to stay awake for it, I had one for you. It was good.



posted on Apr, 18 2016 @ 10:45 AM
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Well, after a very long night, a few more trips up the hill and watching for coyotes...calf and momma are fine. Little one is up bouncing around, pestering momma and furiously nursing.

By daylight I can now see why momma had such a struggle giving birth to him!! He's a flipping GIANT!! By far the biggest calf she's ever thrown in all her years. She usually throws some big ones, but this one is a WHALE!! Calf easily weighs 90+ lbs. WOW!!!



posted on Apr, 18 2016 @ 11:10 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk
That sounds like you had a lot of fun. At least the coyotes didn't get the calf.



posted on Apr, 18 2016 @ 01:19 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Thank you for sharing that story with ATS. That was awesome!





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