Cattle · Country life

A calf is born…

This week we welcomed our first Hereford calf onto the farm.

The anticipation had been building for months as Fuchsia, a heifer, was a first-time mum-to-be.

She had been showing the slow signs of change for a few weeks, however, at 3.45pm on Wednesday things really began to move.

Having never seen a birth before I was captivated.

Fuchsia was very calm throughout so we had an inkling that all was going to be well.

A few days before the birth I had read a book about pregnancy in cows and it was mind boggling in terms of what could go wrong – a bit like when you take medication and read the leaflet about the side effects, in essence it is probably better not to read it at all.

But very quickly, Fuchsia was well on the way and you could clearly see a hoof appearing…and then two.

The next part took much longer as she struggled to move the calf out further.

With the blink of an eye the calf was half out and then a second later it was laying on the grass.

…the birth
…just born

As a first-time mum she looked a bit bemused but was soon licking the calf.

I was astonished at how quickly the calf, who for nine months has been tucked in a safe, warm environment, adapted to the big wide world.

…mum and calf

It’s head was soon up and looking around and after about ten minutes it was attempting to prop itself up.

It was then that the struggle to get up began, it was both endearing and fascinating to see as it found it’s legs and worked out how to use them.

…bonding with mum
…only minutes old
…the first stand

The calf, and mum, were both calm and immediately bonded. After managing to stand the next struggle they both faced was feeding.

The calf kind of knew it needed to feed but wasn’t sure where (so prodded every inch of Fuchsia’s underside) whereas Fuchsia took a while to get to grips with what the calf was trying to do.

…the first feed

Now, three days later the pair are settling into life together well and have formed a new and integral part of the life on the farm.

…two days old

The calf is a girl, now she just needs a name…

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