June Monthly Moos {What I've Learned About Cows}

Friday, June 7, 2013



I've had a number of readers email me in recent months asking for more posts on our cows and our farm.  So I've decided to write a consistent monthly bit of "moos" about our farm happenings.

In this first post of "Monthly Moos" I thought I'd share with you some of the things we've learned about our cows and some of their fun personality traits.  We spend a lot of time around our cows - they live in the same pasture where we're building our house, so we've gotten to know them very well!! 
 
 
*****
The birth of a baby calf is such an amazing thing to witness; probably the most incredible part is how quickly they stand up. Within minutes of being born the Momma is encouraging them to get
up and nurse.  I don't think I've ever seen an animal that is as maternal and nurturing as a Momma Cow.  They are incredible.





*****
A very calm, friendly cow will turn into a different personality when she has her baby. She becomes a ferocious Momma Bear if she ever feels that her calf is threatened in any way. The dog that was her best friend the day before her calf was born becomes her biggest enemy the next day. (Talk about confusing to the dog! Our dog quickly learned to just lay a safe distance away and watch - with only a little whimpering!)


*****
A Momma will often hide her brand new baby in a safe location so that she can go eat or drink.  The baby will not leave the location, but will quietly wait for the Momma to return.  And of course, they always do.   (I don't have a picture of a hidden baby calf because believe me, they are hidden well!)
 
*****
Its important to the Momma Cow to have a clean, nice looking calf. She will lick and clean her baby and have it shiny looking on a regular basis. The baby learns from the first few minutes of birth to stand still and let himself be spit-shined! We have a few calves that are half the size of the Momma and they still stand to be cleaned! 
 
 
*****
When a new calf is born the other calves love to come and introduce themselves.  There is something really precious about one of the bigger calves softly nudging the newest baby in the herd.  (The big calf on the left in the picture below looks huge next the tiny brand new baby on the right, but she is really only 3 months old - they grow fast!)
 
 
*****
Cows are extremely sensitive and if a Momma loses her calf she turns to humans for comfort.  MayBelle, our Momma that had twins, mourned for days when she lost one of her twins.  She was one of our very stand-offish cows, but when one of her calves died, she came to me and literally laid her head on my shoulder and cried.  Of course, so did I.  (The photo below is MayBelle with her twins.  They were darling and precious.  One survived and her name is Mercedes.  She's one of my favorite calves.)
 
 
*****
A calf loves to nurse its Momma.  If its in any kind of an intimidating situation it will run and nurse, or even just stand close to its Mommas breast!  
  (That white foamy stuff on the little calf's nose is milk!)
 
 
*****
Cows pick their noses with their perfectly formed long tongues!
 
 
 
*****
Its not a myth that Momma Cows will assign one of the other Mommas as a babysitter and leave their young babies while they go to the pond or to graze a little further afield.  Its a very sweet sight to see one calm Momma with five or more babies! 
 
 
 
*****
When Momma Cows have their calf they will hang out with the Momma that has the youngest baby.   They always remind me of  human Mommy's sharing in the stress and worries of having a new little one!
 
 
*****
Calves have best friends - and it is usually another calf born real close to the same time.  They will practically become inseparable.  They will often even nurse from each other's Mommas. 
 
 
*****
Cows love human companionship.  The minute I drive down to my garden they run to meet me there and will all stand around the garden fence watching me work.  
 
 

*****
They want to be where we are.  At dusk every evening they make their way up to the hilltop and do exactly what we do:  enjoy the setting sun and the cool breeze. 



*****
Calves come in all sorts of colors and sizes... and they are all beautiful and precious!


I'm thankful for our sweet Momma Cows and their even sweeter babies.  Our hope is to be the very best caretakers we can be for these sweet, gentle animals.

 
I hope you have had a wonderful week.  As usual, Eldon and I are working hours every day trying to complete our house so we can set a move in date!  The "to do" poster has more check marks on it now than it has empty boxes!  There will be a farm house progress post coming up soon. 

18 comments:

  1. How interesting! I didn't know most of that about cows (remember, I'm the city girl). One time when visiting my husband's family farm I got to see a just born calf at a safe distance from the protective mom. SO precious. I have a Cow board on Pinterest and posted your last photo there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Barbara, There is nothing like seeing a just born calf is there? They are the sweetest things. We have a calf just born the other night (with the assistance of the Vet) and because of a rough start we have him and his Momma in the pen. We've been in and out of the pen and so the calf, Walter, has bonded with us and we get to just pet and hug on him all we want and its really sweet! Luckily the Momma is very accepting of us in there - I think she knows she's alive because we called for help for her! :-)

      Delete
  2. Great post! We did FINALLY get our flooring and you were right, we do love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deb, so glad your flooring came in. It was pretty easy to install wasn't it? Glad you love it; email me a picture!

      Delete
  3. What a wonderful post! It's obvious how much fun you've had learning 'cow' and I love all the interaction - I had no idea they did those things. I did feel a little sorry for the former-best-friend dog, tho.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Linda, Yes we feel sorry for Belle, our dog, too. She's had a rough time of it! But the reward is that now the calves seek her out to play... they get in a quick nose rub, and bucking run and play before their Momma bellows out a warning and they go back to her! She's a good do though and she seems understand!

      Delete
  4. Thank you for sharing this post! I loved hearing about how similar they are to human moms and babies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, isn't it amazing? They floor me sometimes.

      Delete
  5. Oh Dori...I've said this before but it's worth repeating. You have the sweetest life. So full of all the important things. Loved seeing your Momma cows. Good job on the pin it buttons too!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Ann! I find myself getting very wrapped up and worried about my baby calves. (I'm my mother, I've discovered.) Sometimes I have to sit back and remember I have a very lucky life here on the farm and I need to enjoy it instead of stressing it! :-) And thank you again for linking me to the right source for the pin it buttons!!! Wanted to link to your blitzed on pinterest this morning but wasn't sure if pictures of cows are something to pin??? Ha Ha! Have a good weekend, Ann.

      Delete
  6. Dori!!! I LOOOOVE the name you came up with, and I LOVE this post! Also, I love cows, and calves, and I might want to come live with you in Tennessee! Thanks so much for sharing this! BTW, I also loooooooooooove YOU!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Val. You are a nut! I can't take the credit for the Monthly Moos name.... it was Andrea! :-) But I love it. Please mooooove to Tennessee! :-) xoxo ~ Dori ~

      Delete
  7. What a great post. I live out in the county here in Pa and we have cow farms all around us. I had no clue about any of the things you posted. So sorry for MayBelle and the calf that she lost. How sweet it was that she turned to you for comfort. I'm sure I would be the same way you are about the calves. My husband always teases me that I treat our dog like one of our children. I can't imagine what I would be like with a bunch of calves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michelle - oh if you only knew. I worry about those crazy calves til I'm sick sometimes. We had one born this week that we had to have the assitance of the Vet and I worried about the little guy terribly. My husband turned the Momma and the calf (Walter) out today and everything is fine; but I was watching them like a hawk! :-) Thanks for reading and commenting! ~ Dori ~

      Delete
  8. Beautiful pictures. Cows are such adorable animals. Your insights into their behaviors is very interesting. Thanks for sharing. One thing: I don't know how you can part with your animals (they're beef cattle, yes?) once you get attached to them. I'm a vegetarian, but I'm grateful for family farms like yours, where the animals are well cared for and loved. If I ate meat, I would buy my beef from you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Claudia, thank you for your sweet comment. I think that recognizing it is the circle of life helps us when we harvest our beef. I won't say that it is ever easy, but I will say that it is the purpose for which they are raised. We do love our cows and they get the very, very best of love and care that they could ever get and I'm thankful that you see that! I appreciate your comment. ~ Dori ~

      Delete
  9. Thank you for sharing this post about your cows. It's obvious you take pride in keeping them healthy and happy! Those calves are so cute! Looking forward to more "Monthly Moos".

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love your idea for the Monthly Moos! I so enjoyed reading about the cows. I can tell you have a big heart in your loving descriptions of all the mamas and babies. So sweet. Thank you for sharing. xoxo

    ReplyDelete