We seem to have auspicious birthdays on our farm, as a dear friend pointed out. Sure enough, 2012, Friday the 13th was the birthday of our two hoodlum goats, Flower and Thumper. With a crack of lightening (seriously) these two joined our farm. Mother's Day last year Pansy's sweet little calf, Fred became the centerpiece of our barnyard. And keeping with tradition, last night... on the Solistice, Bob was born. So in honor of his auspicious birthday, "Bobbie Solstice Haas" seems like an appropriate update to our newly calved, farm-prince's name.
Like his brother before him, Bobbie S has contoured tendons in his front hooves so, he's not standing well and these two front hocks knock over when the little man tries to get upright to reach his momma's udder. Likely we'll splint these hocks this morning with a a couple of paint sticks and some rags. So it looks like we have another Forest-Gump-toe-walkin'-calf in the barnyard. But since we've seen this with his brother before him, we aren't concerned. Maybe this is just the sorta calves Pansy has, not sure?
But before the paint sticks and rags, it's time to milk momma for the first time this go-round. She'll not be super psyched about this (nor farmer milking her,) as she'll be tender post birth and not pleased to be milked by us rather than her calf.
But we want to be sure to get colostrum into Bobby S as getting colostrum into the calf in the first 24 hours are critical for his new, developing immune system. We'll also save some colostrum in the freezer as she'll make more than her calf can use and having this on hand for future calving is a good idea. We've also been told colostrum from a first time momma cow does not have the same nutritional power pack as colostrum from later births (no idea why this is? And if you do know, please chime in.)
So being the think-ahead farmers that we aspire to be, we'll save a 1/2 gallon of today's milk in case we have a heifer cow caving here one of these days. (And plus, finding frozen, labled colostrum in the barnyard freezer is such an awesome conversation piece..."eeekkk!")
So off to the barnyard and back to milking again. Woo hoo!
********* Later that day *********
Well, that was this morning. And it's been a very long day, long story, long day since. But to cut to the end-- calf is fine, nursing, no need for our intervention and anxiety. Basically had we gone to Florida for the weekend and extended our stay a bit, all would have been just fine. Pansy the momma cow had everything covered, thank you very much.
At the end of the day, after bothering the calf off and on with multiple visits to the barnyard, shoving a colostrum filled bottle with a rubber nipple in his mouth, we realized the little munchkin was nursing just fine, and likely doing so all day long. (Except for the rude interruptions from the farmer in the barnyard over and over again today...)
So pic at the left, our first sighting of Bob successfully nursing. Momma Pansy licks and prods him toward her udder. Smart momma. Calf's got it, he'll be fine.
Arumph...! Not feeling nearly needed or necessary enough (but very proud of momma cow Pansy) and calling it a day, till tomorrow. And betting lots to learn yet tomorrow too...