The last few weeks have been very exciting here in the pastures at HVH- it's time for babies. We entered the critical time frame for birthing and nothing happened for a bit, until it did. All of a sudden we had 3 babies in 3 days. Dahlia, one of our heifers (a female cow who has never had a calf before), went into labor first. As the day turned into evening she started to clearly be struggling and ended up needing assistance from the farm team to get the baby past the finish line, but after some assisted nursing and bonding time Dahlia showed her true colors as a very attentive protective mother. Her baby is a tender, timid black heifer with a short face and long hair.
The very next morning we came to the corral to check on Dahlia and her baby to find a striking brand new, silver-colored calf prancing around- Delphine, a more experienced mom, had her own off in the forest by herself. No need for assistance from us, she has been getting to know the other moms testing to see if anyone will give her a little extra milk. Just when we all thought we would get a break, Dove, our other expecting heifer, began labor that same afternoon. She, like Dahlia, labored for a while before it became clear to us that she needed help. We pulled her baby in the dark of the night and after a couple days of assisted nursing, her and her calf became best friends. Her calf is also an all-black heifer with long legs who has no fear of humans. When we released them to the herd both mom and baby bucked and sprinted around in joy.
This year's 3 babies may seem meager compared to last year's 11, but it feels just as special having new life running around on the farm. It is humbling to see these cows instinctively learn how to mother with usually no help at all, and even more humbling to see our newborns get up and run around in mere minutes. Every year new lessons are learned and new joys are discovered when baby season rolls around. We're already excited for next year!