One evening, let's see, it was September 1st, I went back to the farm late evening to check on a few things. Wait! Was that a heifer running past Barn 1 ?? It was really dark, no moon; jerseys are brown and hard to see in the dark; besides, I was hoping it was NOT a heifer on the loose!
I went about my business, finished it up, stepped back outside, and what to my wondering eyes did appear?? Yep, six or eight heifers jogging through the darkness in front of me. Oh boy, I knew what group they were from, and I knew there were probably forty heifers out of their pen!
First thing, call sleeping husband for help; let phone ring twenty times or so: no answer. Second thing, get heifers off the road in front of the farm. Third thing, run across the road to bang on the bedroom screen window: Help! I've got heifers out! That statement, or Hey, there are cows out! will wake almost every farmer from a deep sleep, without fail!
So, we rounded all the heifers up and back to their pen. Actually, I think they had been out for a while, as they were willing enough to return. If they had had more energy, they would have had more fun testing our agility! We replaced the chain on their pen gate with a better one,
Hmm, I also noticed that Missy155 was trying to calve in the calving pen. OK, I would stay and see if she made progress on her own, or needed help...and so I went to get a pail of clean warm water and iodine soap, and I got my camera ready for action so I could share a calving with you. Well, it turned out that Missy needed some help...her baby's nose was presenting, and Missy was having strong contractions, but no tiny hooves were showing with that nose. I caught Missy behind a gate, washed up her vulva and tail, and my hands and arms, I broke the amniotic sac (part of the placenta) which was over the baby calf's nose, and reached in to find that both her front legs were bent back at the shoulders. I also assessed the calf...good strong reflex at nose, so she would almost certainly be delivered alive. I carefully corrected each leg, in between Missy's contractions. Now, we had a nose and two front legs presenting. I pulled a little on those legs to help Missy deliver a beautiful new heifer calf about 2am Sept 2...man! it was getting late! (but I forget what time it is when I know I am helping a cow through a calving and helping the calf get off to a good start). The new calf was large for a Jersey calf, brown with white speckles on her right flank. Missy licked her off...left her hair coat clean and drying. I warmed up colostrum for the calf, put her in a maternity area hutch, fed her the colostrum, moved Mama Missy to another pen for a late night snack, and said, "Good night!" to my cow friends.
Running? oh yeah, besides the heifers running through the darkness that night, we have been running (very busy, long hours) getting the normal herd chores done and receiving the fourth crop of hay which grew on our land, and the next year's worth of corn silage. Custom harvesters who have worked for us for years, cut the hay and baled it, and chopped the corn plants and hauled the fresh silage in from the fields. We are nearly done putting the tires on the packed silage piles. We get tired by the end of each "day", we sleep soundly, and feel blessed. I hope you feel blessed, too. Sallie