Friday, March 16, 2012

And Baby Makes 3

At least it wasn't snowing. But Misty broke enough rules as it was, she didn't need it to be. We were getting ready to run out and get a bite to eat around 7 pm last night when I looked out the window and saw Misty running the fenceline, kinky tail and all. I had been watching her all day as I pretty well figured she'd pop any time. So Dale went to grab something from RFP, and I grabbed the binocs and started the clock. I knew there was no way she'd finish up before full dark, and it was already promising to be a filthy wet night, windy and cold, after well over an inch of rain during the day. By 9 pm, she was over by the feeder bunks where I'd locked everyone else up to give her some privacy, but it was really muddy there, and I didn't want her calving in the mud if it could be avoided, and it certainly could. There was plenty of clean, rain-washed grass pasture she could choose to calve on, and if she wasn't going to do that, then she was going into the barn. With most of the hay gone, there was plenty of room, it was dry and protected from the howling, bone-chilling wind and rain, and it would be easy to observe her there. I opened up the barn door and called her and good girl that she is, she came right on in. I shut the door and went back to the house for a bit to give her a chance to settle in and get going. At a few minutes before 10 pm, I went back out. Shortly after I got into the putt-putt (to stay out of the way and keep the barn cats corralled), I heard her water go. A few minutes later, I heard her go down and start pushing. It always seems like they push forever, but every time she got up to walk around a bit, I hit her with the flash, noted two feet correctly positioned, and shut down the light. At around 10:15, she went down the final time and pushed like mad. I finally heard the sound every cattleman knows, the sound of a calf making a rather juicy exit into the world, and then some little snorting sounds - the new baby was alive and breathing, always a good thing. But something was wrong with Misty - she was dead quiet and when I turned on the flashlight to see what was going on, I nearly had a heart attack. She was lying up against the feeder bunk, head and neck stretched out as far as they would go, eyes rolled back in her head and all four legs sticking straight out from her body, stiff as iron rods. I jumped out of the putt-putt, tweaked an ear - zero response. I grabbed a front leg and yanked - nothing. I could hear the calf stirring back behind her, so I went back and made sure he had a clear airway and that the umbilical had broken, tickled his nose with a piece of straw to get him sneezing (to clear the fluid), and grabbed Misty's tail and yanked. No reaction at all - I couldn't even tell if she was breathing or not. I poked her with the flashlight, and just then I thought about how to get her up. I pulled the calf around front to her nose, and there ya go, just like nothing she popped right up and started cleaning him. It felt like the whole thing lasted for 30 minutes but I'm guessing it wasn't more than a minute at the most. Talking this morning with Bonnie, she said she'd seen that before and it could have been a pinched nerve temporarily paralyzing Misty. But, mother and son are fine this morning, and Morgan Rivers Zinger is a fine, dun bull calf with the perfect heifer bull birthweight of 75 pounds of lively, just too cute creature. I almost named him Zombie after what his momma looked like right after he was born!

The pix, as usual, aren't great, but once I get them out of the barn and out into the pasture there should be better ones coming. But you already knew that.

Zinger, about 9 hours old
As with all newborn calves (especially the ones with Millie as their momma), he is a bright, curious and fearless little guy
That fine Roar butt again

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