Our four-hooved, cud-chewing ambulatory thermometer struck again!
The back story, and some finer points of farming:
1. Ideally, cows give birth once a year (or are pregnant once a year, whether or not they are carrying twins, etc)
2. The duration of their pregnancy is nine months.
3. If you arrange for a Bull to be in the same pasture with a Cow, it is likely that you will end up with a calf at some point.
4. We have “an experienced Belted Galloway cow” (she is older, and has had many calves) named Laura.
5. Laura has a bull calf each year.
6. Laura gives birth in December
7. She calves on the coldest night of the season.
We had a wickedly cold snap yesterday and the day before. Guess what? Uneventfully and quietly, Laura went into labor yesterday afternoon and gave birth to a healthy and robust calf. She is a very protective mother, and we have not yet gotten close enough to check and see if it is a heifer (female) or bull. This morning as I left the house for work, I noted that Laura had moved away from her calf, and was eating hay. When a cow leaves her calf alone, you always worry and wonder what they are up to: is the calf still alive or did the mother abandon it, it is alive but freezing cold, has it made too much noise and is it being mauled by coyotes, or experiencing any other horrible thing (that all have happened to our animals over the years)? Laura had tucked her calf in for a warm slumber alongside Petunia and Portia, the exceedingly large and friendly Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs.
We must have experienced a very cold few days, as our little thermometer gave us an early Christmas present in 2009.