We had been expecting his arrival around Sept. 9, and he was born at 4 a.m. on Friday 14 September. Daisy had been showing all the signs of imminent labour since Sunday, but I could see that she was very very uncomfortable on Thursday evening around 6 p.m. She kept on pressing her sides against the fence, and lying down, then standing, then walking. She did not touch her late afternoon feed.
She lay down around 1 a.m on Friday morning and strained - I recognised this as the second stage of labour. We were so excited to see a little hoof appear. We thought progress was being made, but then Daisy stood up and the little hoof disappeared. She walked around a while, and then lay down again and strained - again the hoof appeared. She soon stood and the hoof disappeared again. This stage had lasted 2 hours, and I was worried.
I phoned our vet and he asked me to feel internally for a sucking response from the calf. When I did this, I could not feel any signs of life, and tried to resign myself to the fact that the calf would not be born alive. I called our vet, and he told me he would be there in 20 mins, and to get two ropes, warm water and dishwash liquid ready.
When he arrived, it was all systems go. I held Daisy in her harness and my son and husband and vet pulled on the calf. To our horror, Daisy overbalanced and went tumbling down a low bank. Thankfully, she rolled onto her side and the calf was freed.
The calf was large, and very still. We really thought we had lost it. Daisy was lying, flat on her side in shock. Suddenly the little calf made a snuffly sound and we realised it was alive - our vet rubbed and rubbed the little calf, and, as soon as the calf was breathing and trying to lift its head, he dragged the calf around to Daisy's nose.
What happened then, I will never forget. My dearest Daisy, who I thought we had lost as well, took one sniff and lifted her head and began licking that dear little calf with all her might. It was not long before she stood, all the while licking and mooing gently.
It took nearly 2 and a half hours before the little calf, male, was able to stand and suckle. I had milked some colostrum into a cup for him earlier in order to keep his strength up and I am sure this helped. For two days he was very weak and unsteady on his feet, and I was very worried. Every time I went down to the field, I coaxed him to get up and showed him Daisy's teats. Daisy was only too happy to oblige, also licking, nudging and coaxing him to drink. By the third day he was trying to frolick and was healthy and strong, thanks be to God!
What an experience - but, oh, so beautiful the result! I am hoping to begin milking on Saturday - the good old-fashioned way, taking only what we need for our purposes and letting the calf take what he needs. This has been a time of huge learning for us on our journey towards self-sufficiency, and we continue to learn...
We searched and searched for a suitable name, as the calf has a very definite heart shape on his forehead. We eventually found "Moyo", which means "heart" in Swahili.
All our dogs were very curious at the new addition, but have since grown used to Moyo - even giving him a lick on his nose now and then!
|Isn't she adorable? Little Lucy is our new St. Dane.|