Meet Smidge, the Holstein Jersey Dairy cow. Smidge is getting close to her due date of 10/12/12 and yesterday started showing my signs that she was going into labor with her second calf. I wanted to show you guys the miracle of birth from start to finish so I started taking pictures each time I checked on her. When she had her ultrasound by the vet about 7 months ago we found out she is supposed to be having a bull calf. I am excited for this calf to come because not only is Smidge one of my favorites she is bred to a Normande bull and I am looking forward to my first Normande calf. Norma is half Normande and she has me sold on the breed. If you want to learn more about Normande cows check out this link.
11:42am 10/9/12 Laying down in the “calving corner” this spot has been the favorite place for our cows to have their calves since they moved in here. That was sign one that she was getting close to calving. She was looking pretty uncomfortable too and not chewing her cud. That tells me that she is concentrating on something else. When a cow has a contraction you can see it. But just like in humans they can have contractions long before they are actually in labor.
2:24PM 10/9/12 Smidge has moved out of the building and is laying by herself in the pasture. Sometimes a cow just wants to be alone. Before giving birth a cow will start to have a lot of mucus discharge from her “cow lady bits”. Again like humans, cows have a mucus plug that will come out right before giving birth. Smidge has been showing a ton of mucus, again leading me to think that she is getting closer to calving.
4:31pm 10/9/12 Smidge is up eating dinner with her friends. Usually a cow in labor doesn’t want to eat. This tells me that either I am wrong about the signs she is showing me or she doesn’t care what normal cows do. By this time the ligaments around her tail head have loosened up, just like a human mother’s before birth, except you know, not the tail head. Smidge’s hind end is so loose it looks like she is planning on giving birth to a Peterbuilt.
9:29pm 10/9/12 Checking the cows before bed, again Smidge is up eating. I am still not convinced that she isn’t trying to trick me into thinking she isn’t calving so that I can’t get photos for my blog. I go into the house for dinner and head to bed but set my alarm.
1:50am 10/10/12 Smidge is back in the calving corner. She isn’t chewing her cud and seems to be having contractions but nothing else is going on so I head back to bed.
4:06am 10/10/12 Smidge is laying on her side and having stronger contractions but still nothing is showing. I am running on very little sleep and Hubs will be up in an hour for work, I head to bed again and mumble to him to check her when he gets up.
5:59am 10/10/12 Hubs checks Smidge and reports back from the front line. No calf but success that he understood my mumbling when I told him to check her as I elbowed him awake when his alarm went off. Weird face refers to a look that cows often get when they are in labor. Again, similar to humans… there is a reason photos of women in the middle of contractions don’t make the baby book.
8:17am 10/10/12 I am starting to think that Smidge is enjoying making me get up to come see her. I start to consider cutting out the tail scratches I give her each time I check on her. Maybe she is keeping this calf inside her so that she gets more scratches. I go inside for coffee, lots of coffee.
10:49AM 10/10/12 Smidge is eating again. I refuse to scratch her butt. She still looks ready to give birth at any moment.
1:29pm 10/10/12 Smidge is living the life many women in their last trimester hope for. She is napping next to the all you can eat buffet. Still no calf. Still no butt scratches.
Sorry if you were expecting this post to include a photo of a brand new calf. It doesn’t and trust me I want to see that calf more than all the rest of you combined. So when do you think she will calve? Her due date is the 10/12/12. Leave your guess on what day and time you think she will finally have that calf, the person with the closest guess will win a super secret super awesome prize!