We went out to visit my husband's family this weekend on the farm. We are just starting to see some fall colors here. It was a perfect 70 degree day. We just happened to drive up at the exact same time as my husband's brother and neither knew the other had plans to come for a visit that day. So the whole family had a hot dog roast down by the creek on this beautiful fall day.
Late in the afternoon as we were getting ready to consider heading home, my son finds us and says, "One of the cows is getting ready to have her baby!" We all ran down the lane as fast as we could and stood by the fence. All the mamas inside the fence were gathered around the laboring mama, at first just to offer support, but once we all arrived they all stood between us and their laboring friend, wondering if we might be a threat.
After about 45 minutes, when the mama had worked and worked and hadn't made any progress, my father-in-law called the farmer in charge of the cattle to let him know she was ready for some help. The two farmers arrived and assessed the situation. It was time to pull that calf! One of them went into the pen with the mamas and walked slowly and carefully between the laboring mama and the others. The others ran off and the laboring mama started moving toward the smaller pen where the farmer was trying to lead her.
Once in the smaller pen, the farmer used a lasso and caught her around the neck to keep her in one place. It took the two farmers, my husband and his father for this job (plus some fancy rope work). Those cows are heavy and strong! The two farmers attached chains to the calf's hooves. Mama then had a nasty contraction and literally just fell over. Poor girl pulled the rope so tight everyone was scrambling to give the rope some slack so she could breathe. They eventually had to cut the rope and thank goodness for all she was OK. They pulled that calf in a hurry and all was well.
After what she'd been through, I figured that mama ought to get a day off, perhaps some breakfast in bed. But after just a few deep breaths, she stood right up and started cleaning up her baby. We watched her lick and lick and nudge and nudge that baby, trying to help that baby get on its feet. Once baby was on its feet, mama was right there nudging it along round and round the pen until eventually baby was looking for milk.
I bet all together we stood there for an hour and a half. My youngest, only 5, was probably the most attentive of all the kids. It was an absolutely incredible experience---unforgettable!