The latest first-calf heifer birth was Saturday evening. Creedence gave birth to a bouncing baby bull, which I named Fogerty. Do you sense a story here?
A couple of years ago, Bill bought 10 cows from a cattle trader in Oklahoma. These cows created high adventure on the Hilbert farm and I wrote about it in a chapter called “Boomer Sooner Bovines” in my book. A few of these cows possessed more attitude than Bill wanted in his herd, due, in his opinion, to apparent Brahma genetics. Two of the cows never did settle down and no longer occupy pasture space here.
One of the cows started off flighty and eventually settled down; she even ate range cubes out of our hands! Bill named her Proud Mary because, as he said, she held her head up as if she was extremely proud of herself. “Proud Mary,” by Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), is also one of his favorite pop songs. Well, that was all I needed to inspire name creativity for the current and future offspring!
Proud Mary gave birth to a heifer, which I named Creedence. I was hoping for a bull because it sounded like more of a male, than female, name to me. But, I was pretty attached to the name so it stuck.
Several months later, when Bill was selecting his replacement heifers, much to my delight he chose Creedence. Proud Mary had turned out to be an excellent mother with a well-formed udder and good supply of milk, had a gentle temperament and raised a good calf—a few of the genetic traits you look for when selecting replacement heifers. Eventually, Creedence was bred and I started my “name the calf” deliberation again. This process took several weeks but finally, one evening as I was walking in the pasture among the first-calf heifers, inspiration hit--Fogerty, after John Fogerty, lead singer of CCR. Of course, this was assuming the calf was a bull. This name just didn't feel like a unisex name.
As Creedence’s time drew near, I really, really hoped for a bull. My creative name well for an appropriate heifer name had run dry. Late Saturday afternoon, I checked the first-calf heifers to make sure the baby calves were not lying in the hot sun, and also to check on Creedence because we assumed she would calve sometime over the weekend.
Creedence was in the early stage of labor: a stream of mucus hung from her rear end and she left the other cows to seek a private labor and delivery area, or at least as private as an eight-acre pasture with only one small stand of trees would allow. I found a spot where I could monitor the progress using binoculars and not disturb her. Bill had been gone all afternoon and called to let me know he was headed home. I gave him the good news and progress status.
Bill arrived home, checked on Creedence, noted the approximate time labor began and we went about our normal activities while doing occasional progress checks. About an hour later, just before dark, we checked and Creedence was up and obviously licking something on the ground. We walked closer and saw the calf. We watched as it struggled to stand up on wobbly legs, take its first faltering steps and find its first meal. Bill thought the calf might be a bull, judging from its size--large!—and blocky body shape. Relieved and happy, we went to the house and toasted the new arrival.
Later, Bill went out to check on Creedence and her calf. He saw enough to verify the calf was indeed a bull. Fogerty—the CCR name line would continue!
Pictured below are Proud Mary, top, and her daughter, Creedence, and grandson, Fogerty, bottom. Proud Mary has plenty to be proud of!