Thursday, 27 October 2016

Calves, Cows & Tranquility

The calving season is upon us once again and last night two were born, one with no problems at all, the second one however proved to be more difficult though it came in the end without having to call a vet. Of course no-one else was home when Elder Son came over about 10 o'clock to say he was having difficulties. After failing to locate Younger Son and being unable to get a message to the Farmer I did an SOS call to a neighbour who came over forthwith. After much hard work and judicious use of a calving jack an enormous Frisian/Aberdeen Angus bull calf was brought into the world. The cow was fine and all is well this morning. These things don't happen very often but are quite stressful at the time. I have spent calvings holding ropes taut (not easy with 1/2 ton of cow moving around at the other end) to keep the cow steady or to help pull the calf out and on one occasion I even scrubbed up to help the vet with an emergency caesarean section which was certainly an interesting way to spend the the wee small hours of the morning (these things always happen in the middle of the night!). No matter how often we see a calving it always a great satisfaction after the effort we put in to see the calf slither out onto the straw, shake its head and then the mother turn round to start licking it clean whilst lowing gently at it.
There is something particularly entrancing and very peaceful about cattle sheds at night. The cows are all settled quietly in their cubicles with a light steam arising from their bodies and gentle warmth pervading the atmosphere along with the heavy sweet scent of silage with the underlying pungency of fresh muck and the soft noises of cows belching and chewing the cud or in the deep breathes of sleep. Occasionally a cow will look round at you with her great luminous eyes flickering with curiosity for few seconds as you play the torch light over her but she is not greatly concerned about this interruption to her night. Often the cows are so relaxed you can go and lean against them and feel the heat and solidity of the beasts as they doze.

No comments:

Post a comment