Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Calf is Here!

I should have given myself credit for feeling that Siobhan's pelvic ligaments had relaxed, and I should have given Siobhan credit for having read the book about having your calf before a big storm!

As I slept I must have processed the changes I'd been seeing because I woke up this morning feeling sure Siobhan would have had her calf.  Still in pajamas, I was putting on my boots to go out and check on her when Herb came in and said, "You're going to want to come see this!"  So of course I grabbed my camera!

In the next three hours I took 304 photos (!), but never fear, I've managed to find just two dozen of my favorites to introduce our new Dexter heifer.

Here she is!

Siobhan standing over her calf at 9:39 a.m. on June 5.

She licked the calf to dry it off.
Baby gave a little stretch, 9:42 a.m.

Siobhan kept licking the calf, making little mewing noises to it, 9:47 a.m.  Every time she licked, the calf moved, and Siobhan stopped licking, so the calf settled back down drowsily.

Siobhan was full to bursting, and I was anxious to see the calf get up and nurse.  Siobhan kept looking at me, making little mewing noises, so I ventured to come closer.  She seemed glad to have me there, 9:59 a.m.

The calf was having a nice peaceful nap, except for an occasional ear twitch at the flies, 10:07 a.m.

"Get her up, Siobhan!" I urged.
She started licking vigorously and moved the calf's legs out of their nice, curled-up ball.

All of a sudden, the calf's legs uncurled and her head came up . . .

... and she heaved herself to her knees, 10:07 a.m.

A little push from her back legs and an encouraging lick from mama . . .

... and the calf was on its feet, 10:08 a.m.

Siobhan kept licking the calf encouragingly.

With a few tottering steps, the calf came right up to me and touched its nose to my hand, 10:08 a.m.
After letting me pet itsr wet little head for a few seconds, it continued on its way . . .
... heading right up the hill with mama on its heels, 10:08 a.m.  By this time I could tell we had a heifer!  I couldn't believe how well she navigated the long grass!
The calf finally stopped for a minute and let mama catch up to her, 10:09 a.m.  It was precious to see how gently Siobhan pressed her face to the calf's face.

Then baby was off exploring again, mama at her side, 10:10 a.m.

Those long strides would make a Walking Horse mama proud!
Every time the calf stopped, Siobhan began bathing her with her tongue, 10:13 a.m.  I love the blissful expression on Siobhan's face in this photo!

What a precious privilege to be a witness to this bonding!

The calf was finally getting hungry by 10:16, although she started looking in the wrong place at first!

She finally made her way to the business end of mama and latched on at 10:18 a.m.

She nursed a bit, although Siobhan quickly spun around in a circle to lick her baby's face.  The calf made her way around to the other side for a second try and got a bit more life-saving colostrum before Siobhan spun around to lick her some more!

Siobhan had me quite worried for a couple hours, offering her baby only "fast food" as my sister called it.  Fast food it was!  The calf had to be really fast to get anything before mama spun around to lick her.  A phone call to the calf's human "grandma" Kim Newswanger and another to the vet finally reassured me that this is normal and that Siobhan would figure it out . . . which she did by late afternoon.

Tomorrow I'll post more of our calf's first day, but for now I'm beat!  It's hard work taking all those photos, and I'm ready to hit the hay!


  1. Oh how adorable!! I've been checking each day to see if the calf had made it yet! :) I'm also looking forward to learning her name! Have fun with your new calf!!


    1. Thanks, Sarah! Her name will be coming soon; I'm already trying one out! :)

  2. Congratulations there! Your Siobhan is very calm to let you in so close to take photos. It has been quite a wait.

    1. Thanks, Brent! Yes, Siobhan is very calm and gentle, and her calf seems to be the same.

      This has been a VERY long wait, especially with the first AI breeding not taking. But it's worth it!

  3. 10:09 sooo sweet! You got lots of great pics of this special time. Congrats to the farm!

    1. Thanks, Laura! I have about another 300 pics of her first afternoon that I have to wade through! Of course lots got discarded because they were blurry. She moves really fast! I guess she had to, to keep up with her fast food! :)

  4. Awwww!! What a wonderful thing to see! Looking forward to more pics as the calf grows up!

    1. There's nothing as photogenic as a new calf, Barbara! A photographer's dream! Just think, you'll get to meet her in person in a month!


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