You can imagine the squeals of delight that resounded through our home this morning when Jared came in from his morning farm chores proclaiming the news that there has been a new addition made to our homestead! The is the first baby born on Reformation Acres! Praise the Lord all went well! The calf is already frisking about the pasture. I’m so thankful that The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals came this week and is at the ready for easy reference!
We have been on baby watch for three weeks now, even though she wasn’t due to the end of the week. In our chasm of inexperience, we couldn’t help but allow that filling udder to get us eagerly watching her every move. I’m a bit ashamed to say that we’ve spent many an hour staring at her backend wondering what the changes going on back there indicated. Last night, I was noticing that the distance between the top of her pinbone and tailhead had increased and the skin looked stretched, you could see the individual bones where the back and tail meet. I wondered if that was indicative of anything. Otherwise, her behavior seemed perfectly normal. It was hard to say if any kicking at herself was at early contractions or getting rid of flies.
When we found them this morning, she had yet to shed her afterbirth, which means that the birth may have happened anytime between the last half to few hours. It has since been shed and when she left it Jared ran in and scooped it up to dispose of it so that it doesn’t attract predators. So far as I have seen, the calf has yet to nurse and I’m thankful that my husband is on his way home from work to help out because Maybelle doesn’t respect me the way she does him and I’ve read that Dexter cows are very protective of their babies. A calf should be nursing within 2 hours in order to take the fullest advantage of the antibodies that are found in the colostrum. Maybelle seems to be a very attentive mother otherwise. She is keeping the Freedom Rangers far from her calf and won’t let the little one wander too far from her while she gets something to eat.
It looks like my husband built me a cheese press this week just in the knick of time!!