One afternoon last week, I got home from work, checked our pregnant heifers(first calf cows), and saw that one of them was about to give birth. I ran back to the house, grabbed my camera, and ran back to take pictures.
5:47pm: The front feet and nose of the calf enclosed within the amniotic sac have emerged from the heifer. She lays down to push the calf out while another heifer looks on.
5:48pm – One minute later, she gets up, possibly to shift the calf into a better position.
5:50pm – She lies down again, and finally pushes the calf out. As he is born, the amniotic sac ruptures. The umbilical cord is still attached.
5:52pm – 2 minutes old. The heifer gets to her feet, and begins to sniff her newborn. His head is still in the amniotic sac.
5:52pm – 2 minutes old. Stimulated by his mother mooing softly to him and licking him, he lifts his head removing it finally from the amniotic sac.
5:53pm – 3 minutes old. With his mother and another heifer looking on, the calf tries to get to his feet for the first time.
5:55pm – 5 minutes old. While his mother cleans him, he tries to get to his feet again.
5:59pm – 9 minutes old. Cleaned up somewhat, but still wet, he rests for just a moment.
6:01pm – 11 minutes old. He makes another try at standing.
6:01pm – 11 minutes old. Having fallen again, his mother continues to clean him.
6:03pm – 13 minutes old. The calf tries to get to his feet again. Instinct and his mother’s urging drive him on.
6:03pm – 13 minutes old. Having fallen again, his mother cleans him and moos softly to him.
6:05pm – 15 minutes old. He almost gets to his feet, but loses his balance and falls backwards. He’s getting close though.
6:08pm – 18 minutes old. Another attempt at standing. It’s hard to get all 4 legs coordinated.
6:10pm – 20 minutes old. Success!! He’s on his feet and determined to stay there. Mom now takes the opportunity to clean his legs.
6:25pm – 35 minutes old. He walks back towards his mother’s udder to try and find his first meal.
6:25pm – 35 minutes old. His mother stands still for him while he searches for her udder. He’s in the right area, but hasn’t found it.
6:26pm – 36 minutes old. Not having found her udder, he walks around behind her still looking for it.
6:26pm – 36 minutes old. Having made a lap around her, he’s pretty much back where he started and still looking for her udder. His mother continues to stand patiently.
6:26pm – 36 minutes old. Having missed the udder again, he starts another lap around his mom.
6:28pm – 38 minutes old. Having lapped his mom again, he still hasn’t found her udder.
6:37pm – 47 minutes old. He’s close, and he knows it’s here somewhere.
6:38pm – 48 minutes old. Tired of searching, and just plain tired anyway, he lies down for a little rest.
6:38pm – 48 minutes old. Farmer Harland to the rescue. He carries the calf out of the lot and into the barn. His mom followed along.
6:38pm – 48 minutes old. Safe in the barn away from outdoor distractions, Harland will put them into a smaller pen with clean straw. There the little calf will find his Mom’s udder and have his first meal that evening.
They spent the night in the barn bonding and getting to know each other, and the next morning, Harland let them out into the pasture with the other new moms and babies. I found the calf there that afternoon when he was about 24 hours old.
His mom had done a good job cleaning him up, and he was dry and fluffy.
He had spent most of his first full day just resting.
And now he’s part of the herd.