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Birthing Naturally on the Farm

Last week while doing morning chores three-year old Henry called out "Mama, I found something, come see."  Sure enough he had found something!  That little "something" was a beautiful newborn calf with a gorgeous brown coat still wet and steamy from its mother's womb. The calf somehow managed to walk under the electric fence that separates the pigs from the cows and his mama couldn't get to him.

I climbed over the railing and into the loafing shed and gently nudged him back under the fence as his mother nervously watched me, unsure of my intentions with her baby. When the calf was safely on the other side, his mother's face softened and she seemed to say "thank you" with her eyes. The calf immediately began to nurse, all the comfort of his mama dribbling down his wet chin.

Sometimes folks ask us if we have to assist cattle births on the farm and the answer is that we've never had to. This isn't to say that we will never have to get involved but we are glad that the cows safely and swiftly give birth on their own. We get a big kick out of finding calves this time of year, especially in the early summer when the grass gets high. When the cows are turned out in the pasture the females that are ready to give birth typically go off on their own and find a nice spot in the tall grass where they can labor peacefully. Often we do not find newborn calves right away as they stay hidden in the grass and stay close to their mothers. This "hunt" for newborn calves each morning keeps us motivated and gives the kids an excuse to get dirty.

This time of year is always such a special time on the farm. New life abounds and this is just the beginning.  Next week chicks will arrive and the pigs are due to have piglets in the middle of April.  We are looking forward to welcoming all sorts of babies to the farm in the next month so come on by and visit, we'd love for you to meet the animals!


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