Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Molly's new calf


When I was doing chores on Thursday evening, Molly the Irish Dexter was walking across the pasture towards me. I immediately noticed the front of her udder because it was quite large and so tight that the skin was almost shiny. That got my attention! Was she in labor? Was she really close? I started watching her carefully, and as she turned around, I saw her rear udder, which was not even close to being so large. Knowing that her fore udder had to be pretty uncomfortable, I was feeling sorry for her thinking that it would probably still be a couple days before she calved because I expected the whole udder to be that large just before calving, rather than only the front half.

As I was finishing up chores, Molly was nowhere in sight. I thought about looking for her in case she was in labor, but reminded myself that her rear udder was not impressive, so I headed into the house.

Friday morning, Katherine and I headed down south to the little city for shopping and a visit to the chiropractor after she milked the goats. Mike was handling the rest of morning chores. About ten minutes down the road, I thought about wanting to water the grass in one of the buck pens -- yes, I am a desperate woman with this drought -- and picked up my cell phone to call Mike. When he answered the phone, he was really rushed, so I asked what was up, and he said that Molly had calved.

Mike wanted to get back out to it to make sure that the calf was clean so that flies wouldn't lay eggs on it and cause a bad case of maggots (also called "fly strike"). We've dealt with two cases of fly strike here, and that is more than enough for one lifetime! The first time it was a lamb, and the second time it was a turkey hen that had been attacked by a coyote. Nothing much turns my stomach, but maggots crawling around inside the skin of a living creature make my belly feel like it is being turned inside out. I'll die a happy woman if I never see that again!

Mike had just found the calf before I called, and he didn't even know if it was a bull or a heifer. He called back a little later to say that it was a bull calf, which means that of the five calves born on our farm, four have been bulls. Bridget looks like she'll be calving in about a month, so maybe she'll have a heifer and start to even out the numbers a little.

4 comments:

Carolyn Renee said...

Congratulations on the new calf! Are you going to sell him or fatten him up for your freezer?

Deborah Niemann said...

Thanks! Unless someone just shows up and wants to buy him, he'll be beef.

Mary Ann said...

We're fighting against fly strike here right now with a turkey hen... so far, so good.. .we've sprayed Iodine spray, antibiotic spray, and pyrethrin "Screw worm" spray throroughly over the wound twice a day. Whew!

Outdoor Kitchen said...

Congratulations! Nice looking calf. I almost feel sorry that he'll be beef later if no one buys him.

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