We have 10 first calf-heifers this year and several of them are due to calve this week and next. The weather forecast is for temperatures in the 90’s, possibly close to 100. The prospective mothers reside in a pasture near the house so we can monitor the births and mothering habits. Mama #20 and her calf, Gussie, born last week, are getting along great. Another heifer, Ginger, had her calf early yesterday morning but needed a quick Mothering 101 course.
When Bill first found Ginger and her calf, all appeared to be normal: Ginger had cleaned the birth slime off the calf, then slicked up the afterbirth. When he went out later to check the cows for new arrivals, Ginger was lying in the shade and left her calf sleeping in the blazing sun about 50 yards away. Bill lifted the calf to its feet and guided it on a wobbly path to his mother.
Once in the shade, he coaxed Ginger to her feet and guided the calf to the breakfast table. At first, Ginger wasn't willing to let it eat. But when Mama #20 walked over and offered a place at her table, Ginger quickly changed her mind! Bill was relieved to see the possessive instinct kick in.
Bill checked Ginger and her calf throughout the day and found them lying together in the shade. I checked on them in the evening and the calf was having supper while Ginger warily watched me watch her.