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I’m a little gun shy

March 8, 2010

Lil’s calves – 1982

Despite my happy face in the picture – I do not want Della to have twins.   I take the full blame for her losing her last calves.  For 9 years I was dead sure she would deliver twins, but when she did, after all those pregnancies, I was the one who fumbled.  When I looked at this picture taken so long ago, I noticed that I was wearing my nursery propagation gear, which means it was February and too soon really for calves.  These guys turned out fine – but no sense in getting greedy, two calves don’t always pencil out in the long run.

This is the view I am most interested in these days – it may seem odd to someone without stock.  But  near calving time this is the business end.  I am driving my daughter crazy speculating and worrying about the upcoming calving. Della carries her calves low and wide, but I wish she was showing a little less at this stage.  Every tail switch on a flyless day drives me bananas.  Della has been diagnosed with back cancer to triplets since I started obsessing about this birth.  I have to get my anxiety in check before delivery so I don’t pass it on to her.  Fingers crossed for a normal delivery – with one live calf…

48 Comments leave one →
  1. tcuppminiatures permalink
    March 9, 2010 1:46 am

    Sending good thoughts, well wishes and prayers for a single, healthy birth! We also welcome single births around here! Oh what a pain when the beefers have twins. So far, no Jerseys with twins although years ago when my DH and FIL were running the dairy, they had a Guernsey/Holstein that had triplets! They all lived and went on to be part of the herd. Truly a miracle and not one they ever wanted to repeat!

    • March 9, 2010 5:46 am

      Tammy, as you know it is a pain – we have never had triplets – thank heavens. Tough on the cow and farmers.

  2. March 9, 2010 2:36 am

    Oh, I will keep Miss Della in my thoughts and prayers. I hope all goes well. I love animals more than I do people. That’s a sad statement, I know. I guess I am lucky I met my husband when I was very young; otherwise, I would have never married 😉

  3. March 9, 2010 3:15 am

    Crossing fingers and toes over here.

    Those are both GREAT photos that tell a story. Just look at that backend. We’re farmer – who don’t raise livestock – and that photo of Della tells so much.

  4. March 9, 2010 3:42 am

    Defiantly close, but I think you are really never ready, we all make mistakes and can’t be perfect. Hope everything goes ok.

    • March 9, 2010 5:48 am

      Lisa, the reason I am having such a worry wart is that she has 9 weeks to go! Hopefully, the only problem is my worrying.

  5. March 9, 2010 4:41 am

    I do hope all goes well for you! I am sure it will be fine, especially since you are so prepared this time.

    She sure is wide and beautiful!

  6. March 9, 2010 4:50 am

    Oh wow, Della is looking GREAT with child! You mean she has back cancer? How does that happen? She still looks lovely even from the rear! Only in my dreams…..not me looking lovely from the rear…but my heifer ever looking lovely from the rear…Just wanted to clear that up!!! 😉

    • March 9, 2010 5:52 am

      Diane, no cancer, I just meant that I keep thinking of all the things that could go wrong, which is the totally wrong approach. I should be thinking that things will go right. She has 9 weeks to go…

  7. March 9, 2010 5:16 am

    I will shake the mojo stick on your behalf. Just breathe.

  8. March 9, 2010 5:56 am

    Hilarious! You sound like I did when my daughter grew larger and larger as she approached delivery time for her twin daughters. My tongue was bloody from trying not to “correct” her doctor’s advice. (all turned out well and they are now two.)

    Della looks beautiful. I can’t wait to see her baby. Don’t forget to put the camera in your birthing kit.

    • March 9, 2010 6:14 am

      Serendippity, I had to post about it just to get it out – if only I could be as stoic as Della!

  9. Marcia in WY permalink
    March 9, 2010 6:16 am

    Della dear is looking good – a bit round with 2 months or so to go – could it be earlier – was she AI’d ? Were the twins in the picture hers? Before I bought her, my mare had twins – both lived, which is really rare for horses – they had a struggle though – the babies had to be lifted up to nurse because they were so tiny. I’m hoping my Molly cow is pregnant — I ordered the Preg-O-Vet milk test to try first before the bio-track – seems easier …if it works… Sending good luck your way!

    • March 9, 2010 6:36 am

      She was AI’d, twice, if the first one took, she still had a STRONG (read violent) heat 3 weeks later. Either way, she has a ways to go. I had a mare that had twins, one survived, the other one maybe, if we had been there. Della and her sister Virginia both had twins the same year – I am hoping there is not a repeat. I want a heifer of course, but in all reality at this point, I just want a smooth delivery with no problems. It looks like the preg-o-vet isn’t working too well, fingers crossed!

  10. March 9, 2010 6:18 am

    I feel like Della right now! Today’s my due date, and no sign of baby yet! At least I know it’s only one little boy 🙂

    • March 9, 2010 6:30 am

      Abbie, I went two weeks past my due date! It was fine though, we got lots done, roofing, fence building etc. Nothing seemed to bring on any labor until the munchkin was ready! She actually was born on my mother’s BD, which was a surprise, since we thought she would be early.

      Can’t wait to see the newest little CT farmer! Hopefully your Mom will post pics!!

  11. Marcia in WY permalink
    March 9, 2010 6:18 am

    Oops…just read the twins pictured were Lil’s.

  12. March 9, 2010 6:50 am

    We don’t want twins around here either….in a range cow the chances of the catching the next year are considerably less and the extra calf is usually just a pain in the butt unless you can graft it on to a cow that’s lost one.

    • March 9, 2010 7:38 am

      Linda, yeah, it only takes a bad outcome for the thought of twins to give me a pain. Takes more milk and all the problems you listed above.

  13. March 9, 2010 6:57 am

    What do you mean ” back cancer with triplets” ? I wish Della the best! One of these I will have a cow just like Della : ). I wish retirement was sooner!

  14. March 9, 2010 7:03 am

    oh…just read the comments. Thanks God …no cancer! You scared me : (

    one of our ewes had twins and we almost lost her as her body couldn’t keep up with the pressure of 2 growing fetus! I was 1,000 of miles away and my poor wife had to run around in the middle of a blizzard. But thanks God…all is well and everybody survived. I know how anxious you must be…wish you thet best.

    • March 9, 2010 7:40 am

      wf, it’s more normal for sheep and goats to have twins or triplets, but it is very hard on the mother. Humans have that greed gene that seem to think multiple births is a good thing.

      Glad your ewe and the babies are doing fine!

  15. March 9, 2010 7:07 am

    I know what you mean. It’s kidding season here for my goats, and I’ve got picture after picture after video of the back end of my girls! Just like you, it’s the only part I’m interested in in the days before they are due and the weeks after, making sure all is well! Here’s praying for a healthy singleton for you and Della!

    • March 9, 2010 7:41 am

      Sarah, thanks, I think the beef cows are getting a little perturbed, I am not watching them near as close, although none look as big as her, even though they are due the same time… .

      Good luck with your kidding!

  16. March 9, 2010 8:34 am

    Perhaps Della has just reached an age where she’s more comfortable letting it all hang out? 🙂 No? Water weight? No? One chunky calf? Work with me…

    Sending good vibes for an easy, healthy, single delivery.

    • March 10, 2010 6:19 am

      Maggie, she’s definitely at the age where she lets it all hang out 🙂 She should be OK, it’s me I am worried about…

  17. March 9, 2010 9:57 am

    Hey- I would love to see more posts about Della and how you care for her and her calf. We did alright last year with Clara’s calving (first for us, third for her) but we could do better.
    Pictures and play by play action dialogue are much appreciated. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Also, I would love to know more about Della’s diet- if you have already written it, just direct me to the right post. If not, please share.

    • March 10, 2010 6:26 am

      Jocelyn, if all goes well with the calving (in May) I’ll post as I go. Della’s diet this winter consists of our best grass hay, 5# chopped roots, + a flake of orchard grass hay (purchased). I milked her for 15 months before drying her off this time. And finally getting her back on schedule with a late spring calving has made her an easy keeper this winter. I should do a post on my subjective theories on hay…

  18. March 9, 2010 11:01 am

    I wish you both all the luck of a beautiful healthy single calf.
    We are going through the same stress here.
    My Robin, a silver dun Scottish Highland, is nearing her due date but is far to wide! I was debating twins with my friend as we watched her belly being thumped from the inside.
    I have 10 cows due starting the first weeks of April.
    My ” milk” cow, Ginger, is due in June with her first calf. I’m so worried about her , more so then the Highlands, being a Jersey and not knowing what to expect.
    Again best wishes sent yours and Della’s way.
    ps I LOVE your blog what a great read!

    • March 10, 2010 6:30 am

      Farmer, good luck with your calving adventures! They seem to delight in making us worry, while they patiently wait 🙂

      I don’t worry as much about our beef cows, and I didn’t use to really worry about Della either until the last time. Fingers crossed for a healthy and productive spring calving season!

  19. March 9, 2010 6:14 pm

    Oh how this makes me laugh, and not feel so alone! I am constantly staring at the back end of my ewes this time of year… does she look swollen? Better get up three times in the night just to make sure! I’ll be glad when lambing is done!

    • March 10, 2010 6:32 am

      Jena, I know what you mean – I always laugh at myself because when birth is really imminent the changes are so obvious I wonder why I bothered watching so soon 🙂

      Good luck with the rest of the lambing!

  20. March 10, 2010 9:03 am

    Your right…that’s the business end when it comes to calves. We don’t like twins either. And there is always the chance they will be sterile, not good when you are trying to grow a herd.


    • March 10, 2010 1:23 pm

      Linda, it seems with the twins when it is bad it is BAD and when it all goes right it is just OK. With the beef cows they just don’t have enough milk to really grow two thriving calves. It always makes me wonder when people milk cows other than dairy, calves need a lot of milk to do really well. I’ve got a free-martin heifer right now – pretty girl but she’ll never make it to cow status 😦

  21. Doris permalink
    March 10, 2010 11:05 am

    Do you have a copy of Pat Coleby’s Natural Cattle Care? The best book out there as far s I’m concerned. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar prevents prolapse and softens tissues so they stretch easier and prevents tearing. Are you feeding her Kelp? Minerals? Once I started feeding my goatsies Pat’s mineral mix, we’ve had almost zero problems with birthing. So amazing how the proper minerals prevent so many issues. When I was feeding the store bought minerals the vet bills were breaking me. Then I found out those minerals contained mineral oil, which is derived from petroleum. Go figure. It lines their guts so they can’t absorb the minerals. So that’s a lot of money for nothing.
    Well at least do the racv, one cup per five gallons of drinking water or 1/4 cup in her grain.

    • March 10, 2010 1:59 pm

      Doris, have you read my blog much? Her books are listed on my book page under veterinary. LOL. Her best theory to date is that Johne’s disease is a copper imbalance. Meanwhile throw more vaccines at it according to conventional wisdom. I agree that most diseases that are common these days in livestock and people, are a direct result of the feed/food. Most soils are lacking minerals, and the subsequent crops are too.

      As for Pat’s mix, it was too dusty for the cows, I feed free choice and they didn’t like the dustiness of the dolomite. I offer some of the components separately and I have been happy with the results. I have given vinegar once in awhile, but I think the good feeding and free access to the minerals makes more of a difference. Maybe not. I guess I have to look at our entire cow herd, they eat the same minerals and same hay, no vinegar, homeopathy if needed and no problems. Of course as soon as I write this, I will have calving problems this year!

      I believe her rapid recovery with her last birth (twins) was because of homeopathy. The vet was incredulous.

      I have a naive question, what kind of minerals contain mineral oil? The info may be helpful to others. I buy Fertrell, Thorvin and Crystal Creek and none contain mineral oil. I may be wrong but I don’t think mineral oil is approved for anything other than pest management on the OMRI list.

  22. AKA Angrywhiteman permalink
    March 10, 2010 3:17 pm

    Looks like Nancy Pelosi’s last face lift.

  23. March 11, 2010 6:08 am

    Keeping our fingers crossed for you and Della!

  24. tabitha permalink
    March 11, 2010 7:05 am

    good luck with Della this time around.

    our initial biotracking results on our heifer Jocelyn suggest twins, and we are not excited about that possibility. my dad has a beef herd and dealt with 2 sets of twins last year- not pretty. well, pretty, but no fun for anyone involved.

    • March 11, 2010 7:53 am

      Tabitha, fingers crossed Jocelyn’s results are flawed. It just adds so much anxiety to the mix. Della and her half beef sister both had twins the same year. We ended up with two out of four, and lots of extra maneuvering – I would have just preferred two out of two. Here’s to no twins for anyone unless they want them!

  25. Emily permalink
    March 11, 2010 7:12 pm

    Crossing my fingers (and toes, and legs, and eyes) for a normal delivery, and healthy and safe baby. I will un-cross and re-cross every so often for the remaining 9 weeks, just to keep my own circulation healthy, safe and alive. Emily in So. TX

  26. Jessika permalink
    March 14, 2010 6:09 am

    Oh those twins are cute! I haven’t had any twins with the dairy cows but my Berretta carries like Della—low and VERY wide. My Dad’s Highland cows occasionally have twins. Once we had to each carry a twin and run for the barn with that angry Mom behind us! My Dad hurt his back and I was more worried about those horns coming behind us than anything else! I was a wreck worrying about Gale, she’s finally really coming into her own now. I’ll stay tuned and say a prayer for ONE healthy calf and Della cow!

  27. March 14, 2010 1:01 pm

    Whew, we’ll be rooting for a problem-free delivery …give Della our love!

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