Saturday, March 26, 2011

Brand Spankin New!

I have been trying to take pictures of a heifer calving all spring, and low and behold one finally calved while I was home, and I missed it.
This was due largely to the fact that she calved in about 15 minutes. But, I was there immediately after, and took several pictures of the brand new baby, from a distance.

This is as newborn as it gets. You don't want to interfere during this time, and I took all these pictures with a 300mm lens.

In under 10 minutes, the little guy was trying to get up and suck. This is a natural advantage with Angus cattle, they don't just lay there. The sooner a calf gets up and sucks, the better his chances for success, and Angus are some of the best at getting up right after birth.

At first there is a lot of falling down, trying to get back up, and falling down again. But, the little guy was determined, which is great!

Finally on all four feet. But the first couple steps are also pretty tricky,

and results in more falling, and repeating.

Throughout all this, the mother is licking the little guy. This drys him off and increases blood flow, which is really critical if it's cold outside.

After multiple attempts, the calf gets his sea legs under him, and its next natural instinct is to suck.

He wobble precariously as he works his way toward his moms bag.

Some heifers just stand there from the start, like here. Others are very concerned about their new child, and circle and lick and carry on a while before they settle down and let him drink.

It may be natural instinct, but that doesn't mean it makes perfect sense the first time.

But, his other natural instinct is to persist, and he keeps at it.

and finally latches on and gets that first, all important drink of milk. This first milk is called colostrum, which is jam packed with nutrients, and antibodies that provide natural protection to the calf. The cow naturally produces it prior to birth, and she quits producing it after birth, and goes to producing straight milk.

1 comment:

  1. Those pictures are great! I am always so amazed at how those moms and babies just know what to do. Truly a miracle!