After nine long months of waiting and wondering, Daisy calved yesterday morning! And what a day she picked for it too. I mean, the weather was awful: rain, sleet, freezing temps – at least 24 last night. But thankfully I had her penned in an 8×8 box stall with lots of thick warm bedding, so not to worry there.
For the past week I had been checking my Jersey at midnight every night as she had started showing signs of early labor – i.e. kicking, contractions, udder gradually enlarging. Nothing imminent but I surely didn’t want to miss the birth of this calf like I missed Daisy’s first one. So the watch began.
Thursday night I checked her as usual at 12 a.m. But nothing was new so I decided to forego the 3 am checkpoint. No point in losing sleep if everything was normal.
Well, at 10:30 Friday morning my sister came inside to tell me Daisy’s udder was bulging, she was circling, and her tail was straight out: all signs of calving well under way! I ran outside, heart thumping wildly. Today was the day? Really? Truly? The wait had seemed so long that it was hard to believe the calf was actually coming!
Sure enough Daisy was in active labor. Oh. Boy. And her pen was an atrocious mess. Even though she was evidently straining my Jersey stepped right into her stanchion and gulped down a hot breakfast mash of crimped oats, barley, alfalfa pellets and kelp. I poured some molasses on top to encourage her to eat all of it.
Meanwhile I frantically mucked out her pen, pleading with Daisy to hang in there just a few more minutes while I spread a thick layer of hay in her pen. She just barely waited.
At precisely 11:30 a.m. Daisy gave birth to a perfect little heifer – and my entire family had ring side seats to watch the amazing miracle. She’s so tiny, so soft. Her coat is the color of burnt caramel. When she breathes she wrinkles her nose, showing off a row of razor sharp, pearly white teeth. And Daisy, who never moos, hovers beside her baby humming. A deep, soft rumbling. And it gives me such pleasure to just sit outside in the barn watching, listening, wondering….gazing at such a perfect little gift and marveling at God’s greatness.