As usual, Bill got up early and made the rounds of our two pastures and three we rent in the neighborhood. Another of the first-calf heifers had calved, cleaned it off and the little bull was having breakfast. In one of the rented pastures, Bill found an extremely proud mama and her new heifer. A tagging adventure ensued. Seems the little girl didn’t like having her ear pierced with a tag and squalled about it, bringing Mama’s wrath down on Bill. He escaped without injury.
For this year’s calving season, 18 of our older cows remained at the ranch where our cow/calf pairs spend the winter. The rancher keeps tabs on them and checks in with new birth details. He reported one new calf that morning, a bull. He would report in again later that evening with news of a new heifer.
Bill completed his morning rounds. We had three new calves bringing this year’s total to seventeen, twelve of which were bulls, making Bill extremely happy because bulls bring higher prices than heifers at the sale barn. Bill hooked up his boat and headed to Lake Perry on a catfishing excursion. But before he left, he gave me instructions to check on First-Calf Heifer #370, aka Miss Molly, one of Proud Mary’s daughters. She was alone in an area of the pasture away from the rest of the new and prospective-new mamas; an indication she was thinking about having her calf, but not yet showing signs of labor.
My morning was an exercise in kitchen multi-tasking: make granola and frozen yogurt bars, and hard-cook some eggs. Before I got in too deep, I grabbed the binoculars and went outdoors to check on Miss Molly. She was standing at the north end of the first-calf heifer pasture, alone but not far from the rest of the gals. Less than a couple of hours had passed since Bill left so I decided I’d better go see if anything was happening yet.
We’d had a half-inch of rain overnight so the grass was wet—definitely a gumboots trip! The temperature was climbing as was the humidity. This would not be a pleasant quarter-mile walk.
As I approached Miss Molly, I saw a reddish mucus discharge streaming from her rear end. Then I saw the little black bundle of joy wobbling toward its first meal. Good Golly, Miss Molly! Another uneventful first-calf heifer birth—just the way we like ‘em!
I headed back to the house, peeled out of the sweaty farm clothes and called Bill with the good news. Later when he returned home, with some nice catfish, he tagged the calf and determined it was another bull.