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Daisy, Daisy. Give me your answer, do.

July 10, 2010

Daisy was born on the 28th of June. (Could’ve been the 29th; my Nan’s birthday).

But it’s taken me a while to blog her up, because frankly, we didn’t know if she was going to make it.

Blackberry, her mom, had started to play up the day before.  Scott had come in to the house in the morning asking us to go out and help find her, because she’d wandered out in the woods.

Last year, that’s exactly what Holly did – wandered out into the woods and came back skinny! It took us three days to find her calf – a little bull we ended up calling ‘Forrest’.

Luckily, this time it was a false alarm; Blackberry wandered back into the pasture almost as soon as we had started looking, and she was still fat. Phew.

She was blatantly ready, though; producing some lovely stringy, clear discharge. (You really wanted to know that, right?)

So, Blackberry came in, spent the day in the barn, got fed, and went back out again for the evening. 

Next morning as I’m getting ready for work, I look outside to see Scott calling the cattle.  There’s a big black lump in the field that looks rather like Blackberry, laying down. Oh, there you go – she’s ready. I carried on getting dressed, and carried on checking – Scott kept calling, Blackberry stayed put.

Then it started to rain.

Scott had been calling for 15 mins. It was 6.30.  Damn, I though; took off my work clothes and hurried into jeans, t-shirt and rain gear.

By the time I got to the barn, Blackberry was ambling in. 

“No calf yet?”

“You’ve got about ten minutes to get those wwoofers down here,” Scott decided. I hoofed it up to the house (by now it’s a downpour) to rouse Paige and Elizabeth. (Yep, the rest of you had left by that point. Darn cows always do that!)

So, anyway, even though Elizabeth took her time about it, we all got down to the barn with plenty of time. Well, plenty of time meaning five minutes.

Blackberry had a couple of heaves, and out popped a hoof. 

“Already problems,” Scott muttered. It was kind of clear that Blackberry was struggling a little, so Scott got down in there (yes, ‘right in there’!) to straighten out the legs (guess you should have stayed a couple of extra days, Frank!) and pretty much as soon as everything was aligned, the nose popped out.  Looked pretty funny, this little black nose and a mouth with the tongue hanging out to the side.  Scott grabbed the two front hooves, and pulled – and out it slid; long, gooey calf, all purple and brown coated, and a big bag of wobbly jello waterballoon afterbirth.

Straight off, it was cause for celebration – a heifer!

Scott hauled her round to Blackberry’s front end, and she started to clean her off – with some help from Peanut.  It’s extremely cute – and for me, the first time I saw it, unexpected – to see a huge cow washing her baby just like a cat does with her kitten. Peanut and Blackberry were both making these little soft, short moos that I have come to recognize as reassuring cow baby talk.

Muh. Muh. Muuh. Meh. Muh.

They don’t even sound like a real cow noise; they sound like those toys, the little cylindrical things you turn upside down and it makes a cow sound.  The sound seems to come from high up in the throat, and has a different quality; a usual ‘moo’ comes from down in the chest and sounds more like “mooooooAAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!” – yep, that would scare a calf half to death.

Well, we expected the little heifer to just behave as usual; stand up and start drinking from momma within the hour. No such luck.

Her front feet were all bent forward; folded back at the ankle. Bend your hand down, back towards you arm, so your palm is close to the underside of your wrist. Imagine being on all fours and trying to put your weight on your wrists, because you can’t unfold your hands. That’s how she was.

And stupid? All Jersey cows are stupid, but this one took the cake. Of course, Blackberry’s last calf, Ferdinand, was stubborn as well as a dumbass (ok, dumb bull, not ass), so it was kind of expected to be in the genetics. Scott would lift her up to reach the teat and she would just flail around, or ignore it completely.

It didn’t help that she was also blind in one eye. We’re not sure if she scratched it on the way out, but her eye was all milky, and she certainly appeared to not be able to see anything on that side. There were days we were convinced she couldn’t see at all; but that could just be the Jersey/Blackberry stupidity.

Well, fast forward a week and a half. You’ll be glad to know that Scott put splints on her front feet, for a couple of hours each day, and they straightened out. Her eye isn’t milky any more, and I’m pretty sure she can see me coming (either that or she can hear me). She didn’t like to be touched, either; but now, when you go up to her she shoves you, looking for eats – and if you’re not careful how you stand, she’ll butt your crotch looking for an udder. (Ow!) She’s been bottle fed since birth, since she couldn’t stand (and even THAT was an effort, between holding her up with one hand while pinning her down so she wouldn’t attempt to stand up only to fall on her face, all the while she couldn’t see the bottle and would thrash blindly searching for it…)

She walks around fine on her own, and hasn’t fallen headfirst into the pen (and hence got her head stuck beneath the pen/gate) for at least five days.  She’s perked up a lot, too; eats a ton and wants more; and has started looking at me when I sit down near her.

We’re still convinced the majority of her problems stem from the fact that she’s a lazy, stupid Jersey with a dumb, stubborn Jersey mother. Hence, now we’re pretty sure she’ll make it, she finally gets a name.

What’s more appropriate for a one-eyed, lazy, future milk cow than Lazy Daisy?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2010 3:10 pm

    gemma you’ve been saving up the storytelling. this is perfect. i miss you both and love you sososo much….xxxxxx.

  2. July 10, 2010 8:20 pm

    ahhh gotta love them Jersey girls! Pretty to look at but none too bright.

    Kind of like an Ayrshire I knew once that couldn’t help but fall in the one little shovel test in the great big field…repeatedly.

  3. rose permalink
    July 11, 2010 2:57 am

    sweet little lazy daisy- good job, you 2! she will reward you for your patience and care 🙂

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