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Monday, March 21, 2011

Wildairo becomes a dad.

Wildairo is spending his first Spring with the cows while they are calving and has proven himself to be a very good dad horse.

Keep in mind that he never shares his hay with the cows.......not even Dandylyons, his comfort cow. So this is pretty amazing.

He might have realized that the calves are not really eating the hay, but copying him. These calves are very young, maybe a few days old and are just nibbling the hay.

I can't believe he's being this gentle with them. He has bonded with the herd and seems to have the role of the babysitting dad. I notice he has let Dandylyons go out further into the sagebrush to graze, but he keep close to her. Last year he wouldn't let her walk out of sight of the corrals. I'm really happy about this. If I'd turned both mustangs out together they would have stuck with each other and not the cattle. I know from the past, when Foxsun was the dad horse, when the cattle got out, he would stay with them for awhile and then do his best to round them up and bring them home. He usually came home herding 5 or 6 cows. Sometimes he'd manage to bring home more. I noticed though as long as Dandylyons was in the bunch he was happy. The cattle never go far from home and always come home eventually, so when both horses are with them they will stay with 'their' herd if/when they get out.

The first calf was born to the heifer, Sparkle.

Sparkle had her calf the end of February when the weather was so cold, I think around zero. She did well and had the calf with no trouble. I was glad she had it when Brad was here and not when he was in Utah. I thought we were out of the woods because all the other cows are old pro's at child birth.....but no.

When Brad was in Utah the last time, I saw a cow calving when I was out feeding. I went back out a little while later expecting a calf but she was about as far along as she was half an hour earlier. I started to get worried and tried to get behind her to have a peek, but she kept turning to face me. For a spilt second I got a glimpse of a leg sticking out the back and it looked all wrong, which made my heart sink. It was very cold and windy and I hid behind some tree stumps waiting for her to go down. I had started taking steroids (again) a few days before and they were just starting to give me some help, otherwise I would have been in trouble with all that walking around.

When she went down I was able to walk around and have a look at the calf's legs and my biggest fear was realized.....the foot sticking out was a hind foot and it was covered in meconium, which is the calf's first poo. If they poo before they are born it's a sign that the calf is stressed. (I had two emergency C. Sections and both times my babies were covered in meconium because they were very stressed). I called the Brad and he called someone to come and pull the calf. I thought about asking my neighbours, but their cows are calving about 8 miles from here and they have maybe a thousand cows to watch over and so I know they are busy.

Our cows are good cows and can handle a big calf and she managed to push it out. She sat there stunned, probably tired and in pain, with the calf behind her. When I went to her she jumped up and started to lick the calf very vigorously, but the calf was still. She tossed her head at me and I was too chicken to go to the calf. Wildairo and Dandylyons came up right then and Wildairo wanted to see what the cow was licking. This made the cow back off and so I dashed in and pulled the membrane off the calf's head and shook it's legs and slapped it's head around. Then I put my hand in it's mouth for some reason. I really tried to wake her up, but she was gone. Funny how it's instinct to know what to do with a newborn, even if it's a different species. Heck, I didn't even see my own boys when they were first, probably a good thing because I would have slapped their heads around, shook their legs and stuck my hand in their mouths. (Both my babies were born unresponsive but quickly recovered). Brad called then and I got my cell phone all slimy when I answered it. Like usual, I was really upset. I wish I could toughen up or had some of these pills;