Saying hello to Mae West

2013-12-27 11.01.37

“I think that the best thing we can do for our children is to allow them to do things for themselves, allow them to be strong, allow them to experience life on their own terms, allow them to take the subway… let them be better people, let them believe more in themselves.” 
~ C. JoyBell C.

 

On my walk this morning I got a rare photo of Violet with her new calf Mae West. Rare – because these two are hardly ever still! (We were going to call this calf Moo West, but have you ever tried yelling ‘Moo’ at a herd of cattle?)

Violet is a great Mum. She is protective of Mae but she doesn’t curb Mae’s natural curiosity or her need to act like a big girl in the herd.

For Mae’s part, she is the most grown-up new calf we’ve ever known. This is a young lady who knows what she wants.

She’s a naughty girl, just like her Mum. Right now her favourite thing is to slip under the fence wires and into my garden where she eats as fast as she can, knowing that Harry and Bert will soon chase her out again. It’s become a big game for all three of them. Yesterday while the dogs were napping in the midday heat she came right up onto the veranda and had a drink of water out of the dog bowl. Cheeky lass!

We totally adore her. :)

Violet’s New Baby

2013-12-02 13.52.23

Violet’s new baby calf takes its first steps

“Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.” ~ Mae West

One of our cows, Violet, gave birth yesterday morning. But instead of a snowy white calf, she produced a deep burgundy baby with blotches of white all over its head.

Hmmm….

That baby didn’t come from our bull.

Earlier this year, during bad weather, Violet went missing. We drove down to the river looking for her, and when we called we could hear her distinctive moo. We kept yelling and suddenly she appeared on the other side of the very swollen river. Thinking we had some kind of tasty food treat she ran down the hill towards us.

To our horror she launched herself off the edge and into the water, a drop of about six feet. It looked like a very inelegant cow belly flop. The flooded river carried her rapidly downstream and past the bend, where we could no longer see her, but about half an hour later she turned up back in our bottom paddock again, mooing loudly for some hay or molasses.

Naughty Violet!

Three years ago her very first baby, Blackie, was by that same neighbour’s bull. Here’s a picture of them, being watched by another young Murray Grey calf. Can you see the resemblance between Blackie and this new baby?

IMG00040-20090815-0945

Violet’s very first calf, in 2010, was also an unusual colour – black with a white head. Her baby should have looked like the little white one who is looking on.

Violet had only just given birth when I took these latest pictures. The little calf had just stood up for the first time, and been licked clean by mum. Violet is now busy eating the afterbirth.

The calf is a girl. In the final picture she is licking her lips after her very first drink of milk. Cute, huh?

So, we need a name for this new girl too. She’s got a very independent, feisty kind of nature. Incredibly brave and outgoing. Mum kept trying to stash her baby in long grass to keep her safe yesterday, but this little calf ran after the herd all day on her wobbly new legs.

I’m looking forward to spending some time with her today.

If you have any suggestions for a name, let me know!

2013-12-02 13.53.14

Baby, licking her lips after her very first drink of milk!

Meet Red Bull!

2013-03-08 14.57.04

“Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist.”
~ David Ben-Gurion

Do you remember me posting recently about a very fat cow, who couldn’t possibly be pregnant, giving birth to a baby bull calf. He’s our little miracle, and he came into the world after we’d lost both of our young bulls to bracken fern poisoning.

Today I’d like to formally introduce you to Red Bull.  Yep, that’s what we’ve named him. From all of the clever, meaningful and innovative name suggestions you gave us, Red Bull is the one that has stuck.

His mum has been keeping him away from all of us for the first few weeks of his life, but they came down to join the herd a few days ago.

2013-02-08 18.22.45

He’s a handsome young fella, shy at first but with a robust sense of curiosity.  If you sit down quietly in the grass he’ll come right over to you.

Red Bull has already made friends with our puppy Harry, whom he came gave a sniff and a lick. Harry loved it, and I wish I’d had my camera! But I’m sure Harry thinks Red Bull is just a big dog…

I’m very pleased with our newest addition. He’s got the makings of a lovely bull. And he’s already enjoying lots of attention and treats. Like everyone else around here, he’ll be well fed and thoroughly spoilt. :) Thanks for all your help with the naming.  I thought you might enjoy some pics while Red Bull is still a baby.

2013-03-08 14.57.08

Sometimes fat really is pregnant!

2006-05-31 14.02.47

Common etiquette suggests that you should never ask a woman if she’s pregnant, even if she looks that way.  I guess the same can be said for cows too. It’s been a good season, and all of our cows are fat.  But we can comfortably say they’re not preggers because we have no bull!

We lost a young purebred Droughtmaster bull to bracken fern poisoning about 9 months ago. He was too young to be working yet, and we were broken hearted.  Then just a few months later we lost our young working bull, a handsome and good-natured Murray Grey to the same thing. We’ve been without a bull ever since.

In recent days one of our cows has become flighty.  That’s her on the left in the picture above (taken before all this lovely rain!).  She wouldn’t come when we called and she hung back from the mob with one of her friends.  She was fat, but not that pregnant sort of fat; more the sort of fat-as-butter, all-over-rounded plush and shiny I’ve-eaten-far-too-much during this good season kind of fat.

Yesterday she went missing, so this morning Bert and I went to look for her! Of course looking for missing cows works better if you have a stick in your mouth.

2012-01-01 00.02.21

We found her all on her own, down in the river paddock.  She still looks fat.  But if you peer closely into the grass you’ll see evidence of something else.

calf new

Yep, that little underage Droughtmaster Bull left a legacy for us, in the form of a tiny fat red bull calf to carry on his line.

Yippee! I’m so excited.  Can you help me think of a name for him?