A Calf is Born. Will it Live – or Die?

There’s a new calf at our place.

She is the second calf born in the past ten days.


The first one weighed about fifty pounds, and she’s a combination of brown and black. Her name is Stormy because she was born during those days and nights of torrential rain when schools were closed for three days because of flooding.

The one born this week is larger and she is red. She’s a beauty, all right. We haven’t named her. I thought she looked like a Fritzlie (yes, it’s spelled right, and unless you know Pennsylvania Dutch, you won’t get the name), but now I’m thinking Flopsy might be a better name. There are a few more calves to be born, so there’s always a chance for a Mopsy.

The only problem is, her mama is the heifer-now-cow that Dave calls Wild One. Only now she’s the Wild Mama. She’s not acting much like a mama. She did a few things right. First off, she licked the calf clean and dry. That’s important, you know. The calf was up and walking in a short time, so Dave assumed all was well.

The next day, the calf was down – lying in the middle of sunny buttercup flowers, ears lying back, and listless. Dave came in from work to take care of the calf. A bottle of colostrum was fed via a nipple bottle and the calf remained there amid the buttercups.

Learning to suck on the nipple.

Nine hours later, she was up and running with the other calf in the pasture. Wild Mama seemed to take more of an interest and they could be seen together around the pasture. We hoped they were bonding. Yet, Dave couldn’t get close enough to Wild Mama to see if she had been nursed. Twice in the first twelve hours, Wild Mama charged him. That’s a sign of a good mama, you know. Good mamas are protective of their offspring and this mama wasn’t about to let him get too close.

So why did she leave her calf lying alone at the far end of the pasture? Why go off by herself for hours at a time? This Wild Mama is more than wild. She’s a wild puzzle. Or you could call her a wild card. Even the farmer who delivered her to our place asked me just the other day if we still had “that wild thang at your place.” She’s a puzzle, that’s for sure.

Nuzzling her baby

We’re still waiting to see what’s going to happen with this one. I am sad, for springtime is a time of new life, new growth, and new birth. Birds are building nests and eggs are hatching. Flowers and trees are blooming. Gardens are beginning to provide fresh produce.

I want this calf to survive and to thrive.

I want this mama to be the “mama she ought to be”. Will it happen? Time will tell.

We’ve prayed over this calf and we don’t mind at all if you pray, too.

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