Calving season is by far the most anticipated season on the farm. We have had 6 calving seasons so far. The wonder at watching new life come into the world never ceases to amaze us. I have been blessed to witness many births over the years. Most of the time, I am alone but a few times, I have had the boys with me. What an experience and education for them! And, this past calving season, all four of us a witnessed a birth, together. That was pretty special.
Over the course of the calving season, I conduct herd checks frequently throughout the day. Anytime Jer gets a call from me during the day (he is at work), it almost certainly has something to do with the cattle! Whether I have discovered a new calf or have discovered a cow in labor, Jer has heard the phrase “The calf is coming,” many times over the years. Within an hour, I am flooding his phone with texts and pictures and videos of the new baby calf. Those are the joyful moments, filled with relief that we have a healthy calf and healthy mama. Then, there are the moments filled with dread. Moments that every cattle farmer goes through. When you KNOW something just isn’t right with a new calf. Sigh. You question everything and go over the what if’s a thousand times in your mind…..
Over the last six calving seasons, we have lost three newborn calves. One was a stillborn. The other two had some sort of weakness syndrome/condition and despite our best attempts, never did stand. Those losses were all hard. The stillborn stands out the most in my mind, though. I was 5 months pregnant with our second son, and Jer was gone in the field for a few days, away from cell service. What I thought would be another blessed opportunity to witness new life come into the world, changed in the blink of an eye. It was a hard one…straight to the gut for my then-pregnant self. A complication during delivery and what started as a live calf ended with a stillborn. Those moments will live in my memory forever. The dead calf and the grieving mama. She cried for that baby and was fiercely and aggressively protective over it, rightfully so….. This happened during our 2nd calving season and those memories follow me through each calving season.
Losses like that stick with you, but that’s life on a cattle farm.
Birth and death.
A stillborn calf one afternoon and new, healthy baby calf the next morning.
And life keeps marching on.
Faith and renewal in our purpose here on the farm…
We look forward to our 2020 calving season, when we can start saying “The calf is coming!” again!
Calving is always a favorite topic to blog about.
Please be sure to browse through our past calving-related posts!