From Pipi’s Pasture: Kitty has another calf
February 8, 2018
Last March, after Kitty had her calf, I wrote a column about her. Kitty is our granddaughter Megan's first 4-H cow, and over the years, she has had plenty of calves, but her last year's calving was just plain humorous, mostly because she spent so much time "talking" to us about the whole experience. But this year's calving is even funnier, so I just had to write about her again.
First of all, we haven't calved in February for some 15 years, and we wouldn't be now, except that Tank, one of the bulls, couldn't get along with the others, and he ended up tearing down a section of corral fence so he was out with the cows — for too long.
We figured that Kitty would calve soon, but she's an unusual cow, because she never shows the usual physical signs of calving, and then, all of a sudden, she "bags up," sometimes overnight. So, we kept an eye on her, but on Friday morning when I went to the corral to do chores, I saw her by the pasture gate. Her tail was up, she was licking her side and she was mooing. And, yes, she had a big bag.
I thought, "Thank goodness; it's a warm morning to have a calf." Then, I went on to do my chores.
Kitty tried to act as if it were any ordinary day, so when we took the feed trailer out into Pipi's Pasture, she followed along as always, even licking leaves off the trailer. Kitty acted as she did last year, eating breakfast before getting down to business.
When we were about finished putting off hay, Kitty went back to where we started, found a big pile of hay and continued to eat. As we passed by, I noticed Kitty had one hind leg kind of crossed over the other. I thought how it was almost as if she was trying to hold the calf inside.
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Kitty gave us a "Don't pay attention to me" look and ate some more hay.
After we had put the tractor and trailer away, I gathered up my hoses and headed for the corral to fill some water tanks. When I went to the hydrant to shut the water off, I noticed Kitty was lying down in the hay. I figured she was getting ready to calve, but I didn't expect her to get up and start cleaning off a calf that fast.
I saw the calf's ears wiggle, and then, he put his head up — a blackish calf with a white, freckled face. The calf was already trying to get up.
I thought how Kitty must have planned to take the time to eat breakfast. She probably thought,
"Once I have this calf, I'll have to wash him off, and the other cows will eat all of the hay. I'd better eat first."
Sure enough, when she had cleaned the calf and fed him, she went back to eating the remaining hay. Then, she took him for a walk around Pipi's Pasture.
Last year, she acted pretty much the same, staying on the feedlot until the last minute, but she didn't have the calf as fast, and she spent a whole lot more time "talking" to us.
Cows never cease to amaze me.