Highland cattle, Uncategorized, Uvie Farm

Watching for new life

The calves are late this year – Billy is slowing down , and I didn’t spot it. I approached this year assuming his customary reliability driving the farm forward from spring to spring.
I brought my familiar cows up to the calving paddock surrounding the shed, leaving Angus Halfhorn with the two new girls due to calve later. Now it’s neck and neck to the birth canal – my plans are in shreds – and I don’t know who to tend where.
Fortunately the weather is mild – perfect for animals mothering in the open air. Even at midnight, there is hardly a chill. Angus is lying chewing the cud – ‘chawing the cood’ – as supershowman Rich Thompson calls it- so that’s how I think of it now – a sign of contentment, a good sign to a herdsman- chawing the cood.
The girls are on the their feet in the dark – both Alice and Demi Og, tails pulled to the side to relieve the pressure of the life within, shifting uncomfortably from leg to leg. I am concerned they might drop calves imminently , and return an hour later – to find the scene deserted.
Probing the darkness with the torch, I locate them at the feeder – raiding the fridge as it were. Light shone impertinently at their rear reveals that nothing is happening- or likely to happen.
Time for bed, I will maintain my watch in daylight.

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