Nature is so harsh. Yesterday when I went out to feed the horse there was a newborn calf sliding down the hill, face first, with its silly mother standing around wondering what to do with this little white-faced thing. The calf couldn’t stand up, but the mother wouldn’t let me near it – they can quite frightening if you get between them and their offspring, people have had their legs broken, and worse injuries, from a possessive cow. I went back later in the day, but still no progress, with the calf getting weaker from no food, and the mother alternating between wandering away to eat grass, then returning to lick her calf and try to get it to stand. Again, I tried to help. Actually got to the calf and stood it up but it fell down again and of course when it started bellowing the mother came rushing back so I scampered out of the way. So I rang Farmer John on his cellphone, who was way out the back of his other farm so I wasn’t sure if he got the message or not as the reception was so bad. I didn’t want to go and have another look at the end of the day – it was cold, I could hear weak moans from the calf, and I knew this was nature’s way of sorting out the weak from the strong. But when we came home from the movies there was a message on our phone from Farmer John, saying he’d managed to get the cow and calf up into the holding paddock, and thanking me very much for my message, so the story had a happy ending after all! Actually, there have been three white-faced calves born – nearly one month early too – and they are meant to be Angus. White-faced means a Hereford bull must have jumped the fence and had a grand old time among the cows.
Here’s a photo of a calf born last week which I managed to take just before the mother started to charge: