... just 1 day shy of being born on Twosday, 2/22/22, and being named Twosday.
I had calendared Freida's due date for February 2nd. That day came & went when we surmised Ferd's "got'er" date wasn't the one we had witnessed. Scott questioned my ability to calculate the length of gestation. I began to question Scott's ability to ascertain when a bull actually sticks it to a heifer.
Ten days later, on February 12th, Freida finally started to show the tell-tale signs of "getting close". We separated Freida from Ferd & Jeff to allow her to have comfy, warm, & safe quarters in the barn. That was the day that Ferd must've felt his life ceased to exist without his Freida by his side. He was none to happy & he voiced his disdain to every Cass County neighbor that all was not right in his world. Jeff was more chill & curious as to why he wasn't getting a new crib. Freida did a little pacing, but settled in pretty quickly. She cared not an iota that the father of her baby was frantically missing her. Chief, ever our trusty guardian, took his position on top of her hay bale to keep watch.
As the days wore on, a full moon came & went, many baby goats were being born, & the season's massive snowstorm dumped 13" of the white stuff. Still no baby. Daily, we cajoled Freida our certainty that motherhood was nigh. The ice & snow we had received was melting under balmy 40-50 degree days making the barn lots muddy once again. Recent forecasts were calling for more cold & snow. A drop in the barometric pressure is a good precursor of labor. As a first time momma, we kept a watchful eye on Freida in case she might need our assistance.
It had been 11 days since we had made the new living accommodations for our sweet Freida. Nothing was unusual about Freida doing chores this day. Her udder looked fuller than the day before which was not out of the ordinary as of recent days & she showed no signs of agitation, dispair, & certainly not laboring. As Scott & I nestled in for the night, I heard the usual barking of our dogs while on their patrol. But something seemed a bit off. At about 10:10 pm, I got out of bed, threw on my robe, & got my flashlight to see what was the commotion. When I opened the back door, Scout was just beyond in the woods barking at what seemed to get my attention. He was quick to meet at the gate & jumped up to greet me. What's the matter boy? It's okay, settle down. Then we heard Canadian geese. He barked, but he was hesitant to go track them down. I thanked him for alerting me to the geese, but all was going to be okay. Before going back to the house, I decided to check in on Freida. Low & behold...
She is standing outside her living quarters standing over her newborn calf. I couldn't have missed the delivery by more than 30 minutes would be my guess. Oh my gosh, I couldn't get back to the house fast enough! All the while, I became keenly aware of my intuitive relationship with my dogs. Have I told you lately how much I adore Chief & Scout? I thanked them many times this night for their diligence in rousing me out of bed.
When I returned to the house, I woke Scott from his restless slumber to announce that Freida & Ferd had their baby. We donned our chore clothes for the third time that day, grabbed my phone, & went to welcome the new momma & her calf. Ferd & Jeff were just on the other side of her fence as if peering through the maternity ward window to catch a glimpse of the new little creature. Ferd was being territorial & bellowing at us as we approached his lady friend. I wasn't certain the fence could contain him.
We pondered whether to leave baby & momma outside as it was such a calm & warm(ish) evening. I looked at the weather forecast on my phone. It was to begin raining in just a mere 2 hours (midnight) and continue through mid-morning the next day. Blustery, cold rain would not do any favors on a newborn calf. The decision was made that the calf had to be brought into the barn. If only cows carried their calves the way cats & dogs do. Scott carefully approached Freida with only our flashlights as a guide. She let him to pick up her precious delivery. He carried the wee one slowly, painstakingly, while getting his boots stuck in the mud with every step gently coaxing Freida to follow them to the barn.
Freida didn't/wouldn't/couldn't budge from the spot she gave birth. It just hadn't quite hit her yet what was going on & that she must begin her motherly duties. She wasn't worried about where her calf was. Scott went back to her, carefully holding out his hand to let her smell baby scent on him to lure her to the barn. She took a bit of a lunge at him. Hmmm... this is going to be a bit tougher than we thought. He tried again. She took a few timid steps toward him before acting like she was going to lunge at him a second time. I realized then that not only did I bring out my phone to take photos, but it may come in handy if I had to call 911. All we could think of was Freida moving more nimbly through the mud than Scott, him getting stuck in the mud trying to get away, & being trampled by her. Remember, making matters the more tense, Ferd is still on the other side of the fence bellowing his heart out in a vain attempt to protect his new little family. Jeff was intently watching through the barn partition to ensure baby would be okay while its momma was outside.
Finally, we started up the ATV & maneuvered it into her muddy lot to wrangle her into the barn. It worked & Freida & baby were finally reunited. But there wasn't a moment that I didn't fear her coming through the fence where I was standing to make a mad dash for the wide open countryside at 11:00 at night. After securing new fencing to contain her & the calf in the barn, carrying buckets of water to her new water tank, & ensuring baby was healthy, we finally got back into bed at 12:15 am. Boy, were we lucky that I felt the instinct to go see why the dogs were barking... that she didn't wait until 2:00 on a rainy morning or two days later in snow... & that a 911 call wasn't needed.
Would you believe, even 24 hours later, Freida still hasn't let us close enough to the little critter to confirm what I believe her to be a little heifer calf? I guess I'll have to update my post in a day or two when they settle into being a family. Last night in the dark, we thought she was going to be strawberry colored like her poppa & momma. But today, in the daylight, all cleaned off & dry, she looks like a silvery blonde. Oh my, she's a beaut Clark!
'Til next time folks!