Friday, March 17, 2017
Comments and calves
I deleted a comment the other day. It's impossible to know what goes on in the mind of any commentator. Sometimes it seems we end up on different wavelengths. When that happens it's always at least partly my fault for not being more clear. The one I took down was pretty unpleasant. Of course it hurt my feelings and made me mad, but once I got over that I couldn't help but wonder. Was it an attempt to be funny? To be shocking? Was it made in rage, in spite? Was it intended to hurt? Or was it something else?
You just don't know. Can't know really. It's worth thinking about, worth examining the assumptions I made and seeing whether they hold up to reason. None of them do, really, they're nothing more than speculation. The best course seemed to be to delete the comment. If the commentator wants to add anything, they know how to do it.
Night before last the first one of the new-new cows (as opposed to not-so-new-new cows, if you follow me) calved. I noticed her in stage two labor just as the sun was going down. She's a three year-old cow, so this would be only her second calf.
The younger the cow, the more likely she is to have calving difficulty. A second-calver is much less likely to have problems than a first-calver (heifer). I wasn't really worried; the cow was in excellent health and she's got all the attributes of a good and successful range cow. I left her to her business and decided to return in about an hour. This would give her time for a normal delivery (and take away the stress of my presence) and also leave plenty of time for me to intervene if needed and before intervention might become an emergent imperative.
When I returned the sun had gone and left only the faintest glimmer in the west. It was nearly fully dark, and out in the country, away from streetlights and with the moon yet to rise, that's pretty dark. Especially when searching for a nearly-completely black cow having a black calf.
It's not that hard though. I find it best to drive with lights off, using my natural ability to see at night. Once a person's eyes are night adapted, with pupils dilated to gather as much ambient light as possible, his or her night vision is actually quite keen. Of course it helps to know the pasture, to have a sharp mental picture of the lay of the land and have a very good idea of where not to drive.
Entering the paddock where I'd left the cow I set my course so that the cow's last location would be betwixt me and the faint, fading glow in the west. Sure enough, I soon saw a slightly dark lump in about the right place. As I drew closer the lump resolved into a big lump and a small lump.
The calf was fine, mama was taking good care of it, and my work -- for the night anyway -- was done.
The next morning I tagged, vaccinated and banded him.
He got a little bit confused for a moment, but it was after all the first time he'd experienced the world -- including light...
And colorful stuff to see!
Later on I checked on little Nip and his mom. He's going kind of slow yet but seems to be gaining strength and mobility. His mom has become VERY protective. Which could be a problem at some point, but isn't a problem just now.