Saturday, January 27, 2018

Then and Now: A Modern Solution to an Age-Old Birthing Situation

Ever since the first farmer started the first herd of cattle, the birthing process had been an important part in keeping the herd strong and growing.  Farmers have spent many a night watching over the family's one cow waiting for her to give birth and ready to assist any way they can.  They were sort of like the mailmen in that they braved all kinds of weather to be good herdsmen and keepers of their animals.  I'm happy to report an advancement to keeping watch over our cattle: cameras in the barn and maternity pen!

Just when we are about to put a moratorium on when the girls can and cannot be on their phones, Tall Guy finds himself glued to his phone too!

I've even caught him at meetings looking down at his phone.  

So instead of tromping out to the barns in sub-zero weather and hanging out there for, perhaps, hours, we have a new way of keeping an eye on our expectant mommas.  Thank you modern technology!

Not to worry, TG and Miss Bear still go out to the barns and maternity pens a few times a day to see if any new calves have joined our herd, but when you have -20 degree days with wind chills dipping into the -30s, or it's 2:00 in the blessed a.m., it's kind of nice to grab your phone, and use an app to see just what the mamma moos are doing in their barns.

A couple of days ago, we were able to watch one of our heifers give birth from our cozy warm house.  It was a fairly quick birth, and after he arrived, we watched him get up and start to nurse!  Believe me, TG and Miss Bear were ready to put on their arctic clothing and beat feet out there at the first sign of distress from either the momma or the calf, but it was a perfectly normal birth on both their parts. 

I just screenshot pictures for this demo.  Easy-Peasy from my cozy spot in our living room.

Yesterday, we were watching another birth, and things just looked a bit different than the first birth we watched.  First, we were able to see not one but two "bubbles" come out from the birth canal.  TG said it what the "birthing sac," but the TWO bubbles had him puzzled.  The new Momma was taking care of her new-born, but she seemed a bit agitated and her tail was still up a bit.  Sure enough, we kept watching her from the cameras, and soon she gave birth to a second calf. 

TWINS!  The black one is a bull calf, and the second one is a brown heifer.  

I'm sure there are some angels in heaven scratching their heads at this new way of assisting in calf births, but with our cameras in place, we can observe nature taking its course without making our mommas even more nervous and skittish.

Stay tuned for more news from the cattle maternity pens.  I'll be posting more here, on Instagram, and Facebook!