Baby Mama Drama

☆ June 16, 2015

Yesterday afternoon, I was taking a bit of a siesta when I heard Baby bellowing. When it goes on for more than ten seconds, it usually means there’s another bull around, and each is telling the other how superior he is. We’ve had a neighbor’s bull show up at our fence a couple of times (who we do not want to get in with our cows), so I slipped on my Vans and went outside to see if that bull was back. The other bull was nowhere in sight, but once I was outside, I heard another cow noise, like yelling at the top of one’s lungs, if a cow could yell at the top of her lungs. It was apparent that Sir Baby was responding to this noise, so I turned the corner to see what was happening, and there was Maia, headbutting her newborn baby calf into the dirt. Just pummeling it, over and over, and making this horrible sound.

I raced up the hill to get between Maia and her calf. For comic relief, I will mention that I was completely nude but for my Vans, as I was expecting to just peek out my door for the roving bull and get dressed only after I determined if he was present – otherwise, I was going to hop back in bed to finish my nap. And how could I turn around and go back to the house for clothes when this baby was in mortal danger?! The calf was completely slick and floppy – she had to have been born less than a minute before I got there, all thanks to Sir Baby and his foghorn voice alerting me to the baby mama drama. Maia was going nuts. She bit one of the baby’s legs and kept trying to dodge me in order to headbutt the calf. I had to get it away from her, so I grabbed the calf and ran as fast as I could, half-dragging this 80-pound baby across the pasture and the driveway to the fenced yard where she would be safe from Maia’s violence. Maia chased after me, continuing to ram the baby when she could. When we got to the yard, I set the calf on the ground, jumped the rail fence, and pulled her underneath the railings to the safe side, just as Maia stormed up. And then I flopped on the grass beside the calf, gasping for breath, covered in birth slime and dirt.

Maia continued to pace the fence and moo angrily at us, but she found no way into the yard. I zipped into the house and grabbed a shirt for me and a towel for the calf. We sat in the sun as I dried her off (usually mother cow does this), and made sure she had no wounds from her first traumatic minutes of life. Little Luna (so named when I saw her black hair shimmers with silver) was perfectly fine. Calves are incredibly resilient. Luna spent the next ten minutes wobbling up to standing, and then the next ten nuzzling me, looking for an udder. Mike got home soon after, and he took Maia down to the corrals to the squeeze chute, while I located jeans and drove Luna down to the corrals in the pickup. With Maia in the squeeze chute, Luna could nurse safely and get that essential colostrum. Maia didn’t kick or get impatient while her baby suckled, but afterward, she still seemed full of confusing feelings. When Luna wandered in front of Maia’s head, while Maia was still in the squeeze chute, Maia began licking her (good!), then headbutted her right in the ribs (BAD!!). Oh Maia. Maia had mothering issues last year, though she did end up loving Jupiter after a couple of trying weeks. I hope she connects with Luna much more quickly – with her heart, not her head.


47 Responses to “Baby Mama Drama”

  1. Marlene
    June 16th, 2015 @ 7:24 am

    Oh I hope we see a pic of new baby soon! So glad you made it in time!!

  2. Wo
    June 16th, 2015 @ 7:38 am

    Holy cow—> thank goodness for Sir Baby!!!

    I’m looking forward to see photos of the newest member of your farmily Shreve.

    Laughed OUT-LOUD at the naked but for Vans image. Living in town, I wouldn’t think of leaving my own bedroom like that, let alone the front door!

  3. Phyllis
    June 16th, 2015 @ 7:42 am

    What would cause that reaction to her baby? Could get better tho? Prob can’t leave alone together for a while.

  4. Amber
    June 16th, 2015 @ 7:43 am

    Sir Baby’s behavior is so interesting… would he have bellowed and carried on if they had been out in pasture and you were not within earshot? Or did he know you would come and intervene?

  5. Amy
    June 16th, 2015 @ 7:46 am

    Whoa, Maia! Slow your roll, girl! As if any of us needed a reason to love Baby more after your post about him and Tinkerbell. He is a dreamy dude!

  6. Marg
    June 16th, 2015 @ 8:36 am

    If anyone thinks being a farmer is boring they should read your post. Thank heavens these episodes are infrequent for you or your adrenals would …….. oh dear, you were just talking about your adrenals weren’t you. Time to let the farmily know you need peace and quiet for a while. Good luck to Luna.

  7. Holly
    June 16th, 2015 @ 9:20 am

    Ah bubbas…I have this picture in my mind of the wee calf on the ground and Maia “pummeling” her….My heart hurt thinking about it…Thank goodness Shreve, you were around for the rescue. Hopefully, she will come around and love Luna like her other baby…funny how nature takes a turn like this..

  8. AL
    June 16th, 2015 @ 9:27 am

    Yipes! Glad you were on the scene to rescue poor Luna! Sadly, I guess this answers the question of whether she would do better with motherhood the second time around. It sounds like it might be time to cull Maia from your herd after this.

  9. Lisa K.
    June 16th, 2015 @ 9:28 am

    I love the image of you “streaking” across the pasture in your vans!

  10. LJ
    June 16th, 2015 @ 9:30 am

    So sad that Little Luna’s first moments were so frightening – but so glad Sir Baby and you were both around to act quickly. Please keep us posted on how the wee little one is doing.

  11. mlaiuppa
    June 16th, 2015 @ 9:30 am

    Sir Baby to the rescue!


    Hopefully after a few days of nursing in the squeeze chute Maia will get the picture, remember last year and finally be at ease being a Mommy.

    Sir Baby continues to amaze. Who would have thought he would have witnessed this and thought to scream for you to come help?

  12. hello haha narf
    June 16th, 2015 @ 9:44 am

    so yeah, i just cried a bit at sir baby’s yelling for maia to stop and for you to come intervene. what a good boy.
    congrats on getting to little luna in time. you putting your life in danger is petty heroic, shreve. so thankful you are all safe.

  13. Sheri Nugent
    June 16th, 2015 @ 9:50 am

    What I way to wake up from a nap. Sir Baby – he is precious. Watching out and calling for you. Isn’t that something.

  14. Julie
    June 16th, 2015 @ 10:06 am

    there has to be something, somewhere in science/dairying/farm literature that can name this type of behavior in a new momma cow? Hormone related? Hardwiring not matching up to correct instincts? I’m amazed that this is not the first time this happened, and it is happening again…makes you think that perhaps this momma Maia is not fit to be having babies? How very traumatic and sad to hear of this. The nurse in me is very curious to hear if you will find out what precipitates this behavior towards a newborn calf.

  15. Elizabeth
    June 16th, 2015 @ 10:07 am

    Just curious if you’ll decide Maia is not a good candidate for breeding in the future?

  16. Nanci
    June 16th, 2015 @ 10:19 am

    I’m sooo glad you rescued the calf. And SirBaby is da man, I mean bull, lol.
    But hey Shreve, ya might wanna reconsider napping in the buff, lol. Pair of boxers and tank works well when ya gotta get moving on an instant’s notice outta the bed. :-) Life is crazy.

  17. B
    June 16th, 2015 @ 10:28 am

    Hey, one should know no shame when bovine lives are imperiled! Well done; I hope wee Luna thrives. And Baby, what a hero–I hope he gets some extra kisses for his vigilance. :)

  18. SEMcC
    June 16th, 2015 @ 10:59 am

    I didn’t think I could love Sir Baby more….now I do! Thankfully you made it to Luna in time. You are a force to be reckoned with Shreve!

  19. Sandy G.
    June 16th, 2015 @ 12:12 pm

    A big “high five” to you and to Sir Baby! Well done (and amazing and somewhat amusing!).

  20. Lindsay
    June 16th, 2015 @ 12:19 pm

    Awww! Momma Maia just isn’t good with the newborns eh?

    I chuckled at your comic relief. You’re amazing Shreve. Love hearing about your daily adventures. :)

  21. LaRue King
    June 16th, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

    Wow Shreve…you are a real cowgirl down on the farm. I applaud your tenacity on saving Little Luna from further danger and kudos to Sir Baby for the high alert. Guess mama cows are prone to post partum depression like some human mothers? Sending prayers that Mama and Baby Luna bond and form a loving relationship and that Baby Luna grows up to be a strong, loving Mama herself. Baby Luna will be grateful to you for life! Best wishes to you and your continued stories on your ever growing farm family.

  22. wright1
    June 16th, 2015 @ 1:46 pm

    It’s this kind of thing that gives me an increased respect for both rural and urban life. It’s definitely a testament to the bond between you and Baby that he called to you that way, trusting that you would do what he couldn’t.

  23. 1stepcloser
    June 16th, 2015 @ 6:26 pm

    I remember some where you wrote about Mike finding you and his horse in the garage because you didn’t want the horse to stand in the rain. I imagined his face then but if he would have driven up with you naked in the front yard with this calf..ahh priceless! I love your life.

  24. Julie M
    June 16th, 2015 @ 6:30 pm

    Do you think Sir Baby was just reacting or was specifically trying to alert you? And were you at all worried that Maia would hurt you when you intervened?

  25. shreve
    June 16th, 2015 @ 6:51 pm

    J ~ I assumed Baby was reacting, not calling for me – that possibility didn’t come to mind till I read these comments. None of the other cows were mooing, it was strange. Regardless of why, his bellowing saved Luna’s life.

    I didn’t know if Maia would try to ram me, too, but Charlie got me fluent in the tiny intricacies of body language, so I felt confident that if Maia was going to try to whack me, I’d realize her intent with enough time to react and stay safe. I wasn’t at all scared of her hurting me, even though I knew it was entirely possible that she’d try. And she probably read this in my body language – the tiny stuff you can’t fake – which perhaps contributed to her backing off from me.

    Thanks all, for your comments :)

  26. Calico
    June 16th, 2015 @ 7:40 pm

    oh my, what havoc messed up hormones can wreak… so glad you got to the little one in time – I was holding my breath as I was reading !

  27. Maggie
    June 16th, 2015 @ 7:49 pm

    Since I just gave birth myself I can’t imagine what would make Maia behave like that! I feel only complete adoration and love for my squishy little baby. Poor Luna. I hope Maia comes around. Poor little sweet calf. She is so lucky to have you S!

  28. scotty
    June 16th, 2015 @ 8:14 pm

    i can’t handle the truth! ~buries face in hands. i can’t take it ! cows bellowing, calves in peril, S~ nakie in her vans. omg! i’m totally nerve wracked.. need to rest.

  29. Prairie girl
    June 17th, 2015 @ 6:20 am

    Now that just made my day!
    What an exciting ordeal. What a sight! (Hehe) Honestly, I saw a flash of you, in Vans only, a blur with a cow in your arms! Ha!
    Marvelous story. There’s lots of courage & love on that farm. :)

  30. Patr
    June 17th, 2015 @ 6:27 am

    Oh – what a day!!!! Oh Maia, what to do about you!!!! You are just not a good momma after childbirth! Two years in a row….. Thank goodness for Baby reprimanding her behavior.

    Have you ever known or read about other cow who so violently refuse their calves each year? We had cows every now and then refuse one, but the next year they are fine. And especially twins, seems one of the twins will always be refused. And we typically give both twins to a family who hand raises calves in the area. Dad says, well they were together the whole time before birth, they should stay together after birth… makes sense to me. They have 6 cows from Dad’s very small herd.

  31. Taryn
    June 17th, 2015 @ 8:20 am

    Very definitely some comic relief in there! What a mental image. Even if I lived out of eyeshot of neighbors, I am not sure I could have done all that au naturel.

    I hope everything goes well with momma and baby.

  32. Karyn
    June 17th, 2015 @ 9:08 am

    Truly a ROFLMAO moment reading this!

    I continue to think Sir Baby is aptly named, he is truly a gentleman with a noble heart.

    Hoping Maia figures it out more quicker this year and Luna continues to thrive!

  33. Susan
    June 17th, 2015 @ 11:23 am

    OMG I was reading this post while at work and LOL and I mean LOUD!

    All your babies are so blessed to have you love and care for them. I’m glad you were able to help baby Luna (and we need pics soon). Sir Baby is a true gentleman for sure. And Mia will come around I’m sure it’s just too bad she’s so confused in the beginning. More power to you and Mike. HUGS to you and Charlie too

  34. Linda Kalend
    June 17th, 2015 @ 12:39 pm

    Wow. I think everything that I might say has already been said, so will just say it again: WOW!

  35. Donna trombley
    June 17th, 2015 @ 12:55 pm

    I always look forward to your posts & adventures…
    But.. You out did yourself with this one!!
    Ooooh boy! Hope they find their bond.. Look forward to hear how they are doing! Congratulations on the beautiful blessing of Luna!

  36. carol
    June 17th, 2015 @ 3:48 pm


  37. PatH
    June 17th, 2015 @ 5:43 pm

    Beautiful writing and description of what happened “saving Luna”. My visual turned into Shreve wearing Vans and a matching cape as she flew into mindful action at the sound of Sir Baby’s bellowing! Just another day on the farm…

  38. Jenny C
    June 19th, 2015 @ 8:39 am

    How efficient of you – tackling a crazed cow, nude – no clothes to wash of mud & slime. See? Method to your madness. Oh Baby, you’re a Doll-Baby, you glorious giant, you! You & Baby are quite the team, Shreve. So glad lil Luna will join Jupiter as a happy survivor.

    Loved all these comments!

    p.s. – hope the Vans were salvageable after their baptism in mud & slime. ;)

  39. Patricia Long
    June 19th, 2015 @ 9:05 am

    I really enjoyed your post! Thank God you heard Sir Baby hollering and were able to protect Luna—I love the name! Possibly Maia is responding to the pain of child birth. You say she did learn to mother Jupiter and she does seem to have ambivalent feelings for Luna as well so that in time she will forget the pain she sees Luna as causing her and will love her as well. I love the comic relief you put in your story! You are a wonderful writer!

  40. Torchy Hunter
    June 19th, 2015 @ 1:40 pm

    Can anybody draw? This is so graphic it would make a great cartoon strip. Can’t you just see it.?

  41. taffy
    June 19th, 2015 @ 2:41 pm

    I have had those days too! So harrowing at the time!!! And then humorous to tell later! And the animals involved become storybook characters forever. Sir Baby is a good guardian. i hope also that Maia gets the heart and nurturing part really soon!

  42. Laura
    June 19th, 2015 @ 9:08 pm

    wow Sir Baby is amazing. Love the name Luna, looking forward to baby pics!

  43. rockrat
    June 20th, 2015 @ 8:20 pm

    What a cool idea to let Sir B be a daddy with Tinkerbell. Now with Luna you know for sure. This guy cares and is really good with little ones. He probably learned that from you. See if he’ll take care of Luna until Maia sorts herself out. Sounds like he wants to.

  44. Cynthia
    June 21st, 2015 @ 4:52 pm

    I know that it’s stupid to say you’re amazing – because I get it that when life calls on you to take action, you just have to commit to taking action and the rest just flows from there – but d***, Shreve, please don’t lose sight of the fact that that whole sequence of events was pretty bada**. Respect and sisterly love from afar.

  45. Emily
    June 26th, 2015 @ 12:51 am

    Shreve, you’re an amazing writer! Thanks for sharing this on your blog! :)

  46. Siobhan
    June 30th, 2015 @ 4:11 pm

    I’m sure Sir Baby WAS calling for you. I have a whole flock of parrots and they have called for me when one of them was in a jam. A garter snake got in the house once, and they yelled until I came, and when I said “what’s the matter?” I swear, Clyde pointed with his beak, and I looked that way and saw a tail disappearing under the couch. That’s not the only time something like that has happened. Critters know more than we give them credit for.

  47. AE
    August 3rd, 2015 @ 6:24 pm

    When cows show this kind of behavior towards multiple calves, does that indicate that they shouldn’t be bred any longer? Like maybe there’s something psychologically or underlying physically that would not be desirable as a cow to pass her genetics on to calves? Or do some cows just show this behavior with all of their calves all their lives?

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