Fiona Is A Mom

☆ March 14, 2013

At around noon on Tuesday, I glanced out my window and saw Fiona obsessively licking and mooing over a calf. There’s this very distinct “mommy moo” that cows only do with newborn calves, and Fiona was making this sound – it’s almost like a murmur. But even through my window, I could see the calf wasn’t hers – it was fluffier and “fuller” than a newborn calf would be. And Fiona’s tail was cocked and held at an angle away from her body, which is the tell-tale (tell-tail?) sign of imminent birth.


The calf that Fiona was doting on actually belonged to Sis, Fiona’s BFF, who had calved a week prior. So what was up with Fiona’s behavior? Sometimes, a cow will “psychologically calve” right before they physically calve. Fiona was so close, she felt compelled to start mothering, even though she hadn’t had her baby yet.


Sis was calm and patient with Fiona, while remaining ever-present and protective of her calf. And then, about half an hour later, Fiona wandered away from the pair, lay down, and had her baby.


Moments after the birth. Now Fiona had a calf of her own to lick and lick and lick, which is an important and essential task: all this licking cleans and dries the calf’s fur, so the calf will be fluffy and warm.


The calf was perky and alert as Fiona continued her work. Within ten minutes, he wobbled to his feet…


…and had a drink!


66 Responses to “Fiona Is A Mom”

  1. Eileen
    March 14th, 2013 @ 7:14 am

    Oooooh….I have been just waiting for the pics of the new baby. So precious! What a blessing for you to be so close to nature! Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Meg
    March 14th, 2013 @ 7:19 am

    I love how Sis and Fiona are BFFs, hopefully Fiona and Sis’s babies will be BFFs too!

  3. Madame X
    March 14th, 2013 @ 7:22 am

    Fiona’s baby is beautiful! Who’s the baby daddy? Sir Baby?

  4. Susan
    March 14th, 2013 @ 7:26 am

    Wonderful pictures and story. Thank you so much for sharing this – and all the rest you share!

  5. Celia Oliver
    March 14th, 2013 @ 7:28 am

    Isn’t it amazing..Fiona was just a baby herself yesterday.

  6. Erin Lee
    March 14th, 2013 @ 7:30 am

    Congrats! Life is amazing. What a feat!

  7. rottrover
    March 14th, 2013 @ 7:34 am

    OOOO we are all aunties and uncles! I agree with Celia – it feels like Fiona was just a baby herself!

  8. Vee
    March 14th, 2013 @ 8:02 am

    What a lovely set up and explanation and visuals. :) Congratulations to Fiona.

  9. Karen
    March 14th, 2013 @ 8:05 am

    Thank you for sharing this!

    It is good to be reminded of what an amazing place this world is.

  10. Terry V.
    March 14th, 2013 @ 8:12 am

    Congrats to the new momma! Brings tears to my eyes reading – and seeing – about this wonderful event. Thanks ever so much for sharing.

  11. LJ
    March 14th, 2013 @ 8:17 am

    Amazing – breathtaking description of events. They are all so beautiful!
    Such love and wonder.
    Thank you.

  12. Patr
    March 14th, 2013 @ 8:29 am

    Aw, Daisy is a grandma now…. The calves are so cute. And it’s black… hum….

  13. Judy
    March 14th, 2013 @ 8:40 am

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful miracle!

  14. Jen
    March 14th, 2013 @ 8:40 am

    Fiona’s so fluffy! Nice winter coat. Glad the birthing went well.

  15. Jo Davis
    March 14th, 2013 @ 8:48 am

    Congratulations on the new moo-babies!!! love all the pic’s and the story too about the bff’s…Sis’s calf looks really black….but Fiona’s looks like he has some undertones of Fi’s color on his cheeks and legs especially in the last picture or is that just the way the sun is hitting him???? :)

  16. Marg
    March 14th, 2013 @ 9:01 am

    What an efficient mom she is, practices on her friend’s babe then perfects it on her own and finishes a job well done off with a snack…for her babe and herself. Cool and calm…wonder where she gets that from???? (Daisy…you all thought I meant Shreve didn’t you lol)

  17. Katbalu
    March 14th, 2013 @ 9:42 am

    AAAHHHHH….how sweet! Thanking you for sharing this moment with us.

  18. Laura
    March 14th, 2013 @ 10:03 am

    I can’t believe Fiona is all grown up and a mom herself already@ But oh, such a sweet moment, to see her baby being born so easily (I’ve been watching too much Dr. Pol, where he’s only called in on difficult births) and so calmly. Not that I’d expect anything but calmness from your fabulous Farmily! And happy grandmotherhood to Daisy!

  19. Lindsay
    March 14th, 2013 @ 10:07 am

    SOOOOO adorable. Glad she has one of her own now to dote over. I love cows, they’re so beautiful :) And the moo’ing – ahh to die for. I remember my husband’s old house was in a small town and across the road was a farm and I distinctly remember hearing the cows moan and groan in the hot summers – I miss that.
    Thanks for posting :)

  20. Maryanne
    March 14th, 2013 @ 10:20 am

    What a wonder! Now, you have to think of a name for him…

  21. Amy
    March 14th, 2013 @ 10:25 am

    Does Sir Baby high-five the other bulls when they turn out black? (High-two? High-hoof?)

    How does a white cow have a red baby who then has a black baby? I think you’re going to get a Neapolitan baby soon!

  22. Tony Desmuke
    March 14th, 2013 @ 10:46 am

    My cows are starting to calve at a steady pace averaging about a calf every 8 or 9 days. I have 7 on the ground now but the newest one is from a 2 year old heifer that I kept from 2011 calf crop. She is 5 days old now and I’ve seen her up and drinking but she doesn’t follow the mama yet and mama hides her well every day. Guess she is still getting use to the idea that she has a baby.

  23. Ally
    March 14th, 2013 @ 10:49 am

    What lovely pictures! And oh, for the love of all that is holy, do I wish the birth of my own baby had been so easy!

  24. Nathalie
    March 14th, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    Thursday morning AWWEEEE!

  25. Maggie
    March 14th, 2013 @ 11:09 am

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. I love the “behind-the-scenes” perspective you give. I’m learning a lot and it’s so interesting to read about the mommy moo and psychological calving. I can’t wait to hear how her milk situation is, too! Fiona looks so content in the last photo, standing there with hay in her mouth while Baby F has his first meal.
    Fiona is the same color as Wyoming’s red dirt – I love her set against the blue sky. Gorgeous.

  26. Torre
    March 14th, 2013 @ 11:15 am

    so sweet! just a quick check in before the next meeting and I got to see sweet cows and calves! thank you for helping us see all the action with your farmily!

  27. Barbara
    March 14th, 2013 @ 11:18 am

    Love to the two of them, and to the entire (human & beast) farmily!

  28. Liane
    March 14th, 2013 @ 11:24 am

    Love, love, LOVE.

  29. bekka
    March 14th, 2013 @ 11:29 am

    ahh I love these pics, her baby is so small. Because of you I knew when to start checking the farm I pass at work for calves and there was one there last trip.It could have only been a few hours old when I saw it and I wouldnt have been watching if not for you giving the heads up that it was calving season. Thanks Shreve!

  30. MJ
    March 14th, 2013 @ 11:32 am

    Congrats to you, Shreve, Fiona and the proud papa and to the baby for making it into the world in a spectacular easy way:) I too remember Fiona’s birth and offering you the name she now answers to. I feel a connection and am pleased to hear the “behind the scenes” details too.

  31. bonnie
    March 14th, 2013 @ 11:42 am

    great story, beautiful pictures. the last one is really outstanding in all ways. love

  32. Kristan
    March 14th, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

    What a beautiful sight. And story. Thank you for sharing them with us. I have a goofy peaceful smile on my face now. :)

  33. heather
    March 14th, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

    Such a beautiful sky! And how lucky you are to witness this from your window. As always, thank you for sharing!

  34. Deborah
    March 14th, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

    Beautiful! Touches the heart and soul. A mother’s love for her baby. Thanks for sharing.

  35. charity
    March 14th, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

    So sweet!!! <3 Thank you for sharing.

  36. pam
    March 14th, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

    Shreve, you tell the story so well, I thought I was there next to you as you took the pictures. What a beautiful couple of calves!! & so nice of Sis to share her calf .
    Thank you , thank you, thank you…for showing me the beauty in this world.

  37. Pat D.
    March 14th, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

    Well, congratulations to all concerned (including Shreve, of course!) Lovely sequence of pics!

  38. Eileen
    March 14th, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

    Beautiful. Everything about it–just beautiful.

  39. Rhea
    March 14th, 2013 @ 7:28 pm


  40. Beverly M
    March 14th, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

    so precious…thank you for sharing these special moments with all of us

  41. Bumblebee
    March 14th, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

    AWWWWW….. how beautiful! LOVE the pictures. :) Fiona is such a sweetie.

  42. Claire
    March 14th, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

    Congrats to all. The mommy moo is so sweet. Mother nature still amazes me with how it equips moms to be with the instinct to know what to do once that little one is born.

  43. mlaiuppa
    March 14th, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

    He takes after his Grandpa.

    Isn’t Sir Baby Fiona’s Daddy?

  44. Laura
    March 14th, 2013 @ 10:53 pm

    aww such a sweet baby! It’s amazing to me that in ten minutes he is on his feet and they are both eating. Great pics thanks

  45. TomT
    March 15th, 2013 @ 6:39 am

    Really nice job documenting this extraordinary event. And nothing beats a story about unconditional love.

  46. Holly
    March 15th, 2013 @ 7:34 am

    And so a new life to the farmily..this is wonderful news Shreve..congrats to Momma and yu just need to give the wee one a name….

  47. Vickie
    March 15th, 2013 @ 7:48 am

    This is such a beautiful story!!! Thanks for sharing the photos to document this joyous event. What an amazing bond between Sis and Fiona! Everyone looks healthy and happy. Love it.

  48. Deanna
    March 15th, 2013 @ 8:46 am

    Just the lift I needed today. Thanks so much for the detail and the pics, Shreve!

  49. Donna
    March 15th, 2013 @ 9:22 am

    Cutest darn thing EVER! Thanks for sharing:)

  50. Beth K
    March 15th, 2013 @ 10:22 am

    Congrats to Fiona! :)

  51. Linda Watson
    March 15th, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

    Oh. Oh. OH. I think I’m gonna cry. So beautiful.

  52. Jennifer
    March 16th, 2013 @ 11:23 am

    So sweet I can’t stand it! Thank you for sharing. Congrats to Fiona!

  53. Baby Goats! | curiously different
    March 16th, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

    […] Here, the mother goat and one baby have stepped away. Meanwhile, the pregnant doe continued to gently lick the other newborn. According to Wyoming rancher, writer and one of my favorite bloggers, Shreve Stockton, “Sometimes, a cow will “psychologically calve” right before they physically calve.” Just like Shreve’s dairy cow Fiona, I think this pregnant female “felt compelled to start mothering, even though she hadn’t had her baby yet.” I wish we had stuck around a bit longer because I’m willing to bet that this female doe gave birth a short time later – just as Shreve describes in her post “Fiona is a Mom.” […]

  54. Dinah
    March 17th, 2013 @ 1:36 am

    I’m just a worry wart, I guess, but Fiona’s hooves in the third photo look like they have holes in them. Are they delaminating (is that the right word?)? Just want to be sure she’s ok. Beautiful baby, and thanks for the story!

  55. Kimmy
    March 17th, 2013 @ 6:43 am

    Huzzah! Congrats Shreve and Fiona on a beautiful baby boy! Such a beauty. :D

  56. shreve
    March 17th, 2013 @ 7:45 am

    D ~ her hooves are in perfect shape…. I think you’re seeing shadows or mud or something.

  57. CathyA
    March 19th, 2013 @ 7:23 am

    Amy #21 – I’m sure that was a rhetorical question, but just in case it wasn’t, here’s a blurb on cow colors (longhorns)
    “..there are just two different pigments that produce all of the hair colors in cattle (and for that matter, all mammals)..”
    They used to use cattle color as a teaching aid in genetics, though from these pages it’s a lot more complicated than incomplete dominance.

  58. Tisha
    March 19th, 2013 @ 7:46 am

    I think someone needs to make a Farmily Tree :-)

  59. Carrie
    March 19th, 2013 @ 9:09 am

    I love it! Especially the last picture…It really captured a moment. They are a happy pair.

  60. Karla
    March 19th, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    I can’t believe Fiona is now a mom herself. She was just a baby not that long ago.

  61. Juliw
    March 23rd, 2013 @ 1:06 am

    wow! i remember your pics of fiona when she was a baby … seems not so long ago!

  62. sherewin
    March 25th, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

    Was this a…surprise? Who is the father?

  63. shreve
    March 25th, 2013 @ 7:10 pm

    S ~ nope, definitely planned and hoped for! the father is our heifer bull, we call him Billy Bull.

  64. sherewin
    March 27th, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

    Excellent! Something about the way I read the post made me wonder. Also, love the new gray calf!

  65. Janice Meredith
    March 29th, 2013 @ 11:12 am

    Tisha, on March 19th, said “I think someone needs to make a family tree.” Tisha, I had been thinking the exact same thing…but then I am a genealogist (and I’ll bet you are too!) I have no doubt but that Shreve is keeping these lineage records…but then, of course, we all know that Shreve is one of those VERY BUSY people and perhaps a local or state genealogical or historical society would love to lend some volunteer assistance. Shreve, feel free to email me if you have any questions regarding this possibility (OR, even better, if there any followers of this blog who have the qualifications to assist, just post on this site.

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