Yesterday evening I got home from work, and headed up to the barn to check on Daisy and her “mom”. I immediately noticed something was different. Instead of running around trying to avoid that pesky calf sharing her pen, the cow was standing still, just staring at Daisy. I continued to watch… and what to my wondering ears did I hear??
Did you hear her?? Those low soft moos speak volumes. That’s cow-speak for “I love you baby”. My heart melted. Daisy finally has a MOM. A real MOM who loves her and will take care of her. What a wonderful feeling it is…
I went to the house to change into my farm togs, and met Harland up at the farm for our twice daily game of get Donald’s “mom” into the chute. And a game it certainly has become. The first time Donald’s mom entered the chute she was curious, not at all suspicious and went in easily. Yesterday evening was her third entry into the chute, and she’s onto us now. She will do anything to avoid going into the chute.
Here’s a vid I took last night, uncut, and unedited, so you can see just how crafty she’s become. She knows she’ll only get grain once she’s in there, so watch the mental struggle she goes through. At one point she manages to bend herself into a pretzel like a yoga master and turn herself around in the ONE-WAY entryway into the chute to go back into the shed. Out of sight in the shed is Harland doing a song and dance with her to get her going in the right direction. He has way more patience than I do. Turn your speakers up so you can hear Harland’s “conversation” with her towards the end:
I’m exhausted just watching this.
After she was in the chute, Donald got to nurse, and he did a good job. The cow didn’t try to kick him which is a plus. When he was done nursing, we brought him around to her head so she and he could spend some quality time face to face. Except he’s scared of her now and doesn’t want any face to face time with the wild beast. So we put molasses on him hoping the cow would lick him, inspiring some sort of affection on her part. She turned her head away and refused to look at him. So we put a pile of grain on his head. Grain is her weak spot, and she eagerly began eating grain off his head as fast as we could pile it on there. I wish I could show you this ridiculous scene, but my camera battery had died. Just use your imaginations. Finally Donald calmed down enough to stand by himself without us holding him there, and we stepped back to see what she would do with him. Donald sniffed around her head tentatively as we held our breaths. She reached out with her head and….and…
She flung him aside.
“Well, there’s your answer,” remarked Harland. Sigh.
So Harland released the cow back into the shed while I brushed the last of the grain off poor Donald’s head. I let him run around for a bit before going back into his pen in the shed for the night. Like Scarlett always says, “Tomorrow’s another day.”
Back at the house, we checked on Daisy and her mom. I had told Harland earlier about Mom mooing to Daisy, but he didn’t believe me. As we walked into the barn, she mooed (I love you) at Daisy again, and LICKED HER. She continued to clean her all over as we stood there watching, slack-jawed. Daisy stood very still as she received her first bath ever. She seemed as astonished as we were. All she’s ever known is abandonment and hostility from cows. Her real mother abandoned her the morning of her birth, and then she spent the first day of her life trying to steal milk from other cows in the pasture who I’m sure head-butted and kicked her for her trouble.
But now she has a real Mom, and we’re so happy for them both. Soon, Harland will release them out of the barn and into the pasture. Blue skies, green grass, and plenty of love will be Daisy’s life from now on.
Here are the scores to date:
Tuesday evening’s scores: Donald’s mom: F- Daisy’s mom: B
Wednesday morning’s scores: Donald’s mom: C Daisy’s mom: D
Wednesday evening’s scores: Donald’s mom: C Daisy’s Mom: A+
Check back tomorrow for another update…