☆ 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.