Recently, I noticed a cow by herself at the opposite end of the pasture from the rest of the herd. I asked Bill if we should check her out to see if she was in early stages of labor. His reply was, “No, that’s #21. She’s the only one left in that pasture that hasn’t calved so she’s hanging by herself. I checked her this morning and she’s nowhere near close to calving. In fact, I’m not sure she’s bred.”
Oh-oh! Bad news here. If she’s not bred, her days in the Hilbert Herd are numbered. She will be sold and is doomed to a destiny as hamburger. No wonder she’s off by herself—she feels like an outcast and probably knows her fate! Poor thing!
A few days later, Cricket and I were taking our evening walk when I saw a cow lying by the fence. This is a favorite labor and delivery site for our cows. She watched as we approached but didn’t get up. I checked her ear tag and discovered this was Cow #21. Then, she struggled to her feet and I saw a short stream of mucus hanging from her rear end, a possible sign she was entering the early stage of labor. I checked her udder, but she still wasn’t “bagging up.” Then I looked at the area around her tailhead, which should appear swollen or dilated. Maybe it was, but my visual examination was inconclusive.
Bill met Cricket and I on our way back from the pasture and I told him about Cow #21. He was doubtful, but agreed the mucus stream was a hopeful sign.
The next morning, Bill was all grins when he returned to the house from checking the pastures for new calves. “Good job, dear! #21 has a nice bull calf! Her udder ballooned overnight and she has plenty of milk!” Yea!
#21 dodged a date with hamburger destiny and I picked up some “good farm wife” points—double bonus!