The past week has been truly a "ranching" week. While not everything we touch has gone wrong, quite a few things have gone sideways on us. That is just the way of life sometimes.
Last night, when I checked Dora I finally felt her baby. Why is this a big deal? Dora was born a twin with a bull calf. She should be what is called a freemartin or sterile. The incredible journey this calf has had is a story worth telling. She was born to my father's wildest cow, aptly tagged #6. He recycles tag numbers, which drives me nuts, but that is another story. Anyway. crazy #6 had mid-summer twins, which is late even for his schedule. They were together the first few hours and then my dad and niece could only find #6 and the bull calf. My astute niece heard her bawling her head off when changing hand lines. The problem was she was bawling FROM ACROSS THE RIVER!
Yes, this little traveler had swam a swift and wide river. She was standing on the opposite bank calling after the herd. She was retrieved and put back with crazy #6. Unfortunately, the cow wanted nothing to do with her. I happened to be visiting by this time and when I found her, she was pretty much blind from eye infections from swimming the river, standing in the only mud puddle for miles and starving.
I set Dad up with a course of meds and feeding program. He is way overworked and the last thing he needed was a bummer blind calf. Thankfully my niece was there to help him, but when my mom called and asked me to take her I was there with bells on! G&B Ranch aka The Home For Wayward Calves.
It took quite a bit of doctoring to make it so she has some vision in one eye. She does pretty well, but she knows she is different than the other cows. Her best buddy was Notch (yes, the senior herd bull) her first year. They were great friends and often ate, laid and played together. By the time she was a long yearling, it was time to put her in with the weanling heifers. This was great since she was a wee bit bigger than them and ended up being the boss.
When she was bangs vaccinated, the vet found she had one ovary. He gave her a 10% chance of being able to carry a calf to full term. When she started having heats, we made an agreement we would try one season to get her bred and then re-evaluate what her fate would be.
When it came time, we put her and a heifer bull in their own pen just to give her the best shot at being bred without interruption from herdmates.
I watched her like a hawk and did not see her want to play leap frog again through the remainder of the breeding season.
Last night, when everything else was going crummy, I went and found her in the field. She loves attention so met me halfway. I have been checking her for awhile now, but I finally felt a little bump just where one should be at 8 months along. When I pushed it gently, it moved away and then returned a few seconds later. There may have been tears.
For her part, Dora just turned with her ridiculously fluffy ears and looked at me with her good eye wondering what I was doing. She refused to tell me if the baby is a heifer or bull. I feel guilty for making just one more request for an already miracle baby, but Santa can it please be a heifer?