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  • Writer's pictureJ. A. Thomas

Surprise, Surprise Surprise, new calf

Updated: May 18, 2021

Well it's amazing how flexible you have to be on a farm. All your list and plans can just fly right out the window in a moment.

We were moving our dog kennel from my parents next door to here when we happened to look down where the new heifers were. And low and behold there is Ava Rocket in labor and the calf has one foot out. The boys and I sat there for a few minutes but no progress so we decided to go get the other half of the dog kennel. Our original plan was to shoot up the hill and see if Blondie had had her calf this afternoon, but we scratched that idea. Well after getting the dog kennel down we checked on her again but there was no progress. So I checked the time and told the boys lets go eat lunch and we'll check back. But I was a little concerned as there was literally no progress the foot was not coming out any more and there was only one!

Jude was sick yesterday and late last night said an avocado sandwich sounds good for lunch. It just so happened that I had bought some avocados at the grocery. So we came in and made us our sandwiches which we enjoyed outside in this amazing weather we have in California.

After our lunch the boys got sidetracked in the sandbox so I slipped down to see if Ava while laying down would let me slip up and try to see what the trouble was. Well that wasn't happening she got up and was just walking away. Not crazy scared and not flighty at all but not going to just let me pull it there in the pen. Recalculate plan to include a panel. So I grab and extra gate to in her pen and make a wing that I can push her into and use as a sort of squeeze. This would have worked great had she not insisted on backing into it. I was able to grab her horns and scare her but she just would not turn around. I finally just have Jude pull the rope tight and it was going to work ok. I was able then to get behind her and feel around to see why only one foot was showing. I find the other one and get it pulled out almost even the other. The nose is there and we start pulling, when Ava almost sits down inside there. We had an emergency plan set up for Jude to pull rope so we didn't get the gate and her to tangled up. So we ditch that effort but that calf felt stuck. So plan two: She eventually does get around on the back side of the gate with the other little heifer, Spanky, as well as the water bucket that I had just refilled to the top. Well you got to do what you got to do. So we just squeezed them both up in there very loosely. She lets me get hold of the calf with spanky up at her nose and really no squeeze at all just a gate beside her. Well, those legs being slippery I could hardly grip them. So, Jude brought me a rope, then had to tie a loop in it as well, then I wrapped it around the feet and we began to pull. It seemed like it just was not moving and we were worried the calf was dead as it had not moved. Well when we started messing with it, it's nose started twitching. Jude says 'It's alive'. Well after a few minutes it gets it's head, feet and shoulders through. Whew! we are good. So, we knew she was pregnant but did not expect anything this soon. Now for whether it would be heifer or bull. I really didn't care for this one, although a heifer would be nice as it would only be the second this year. BUT a bull out of her could potentially be a future herd sire replacement as he would not be by our bull Rocky and only related to Ava's calves. So after a few minutes letting Ava clean it off I checked and we have a very nicely marked bull calf. We plan to let him stay a bull a little longer than most bull calves around here. I just ordered a gopro and hope to start a video channel to catalogue and invite you guys to follow along as we were dealing with this I thought oh what a great opportunity this would be. But until it is here my storytelling will have to do.

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