And a calf is born! November 05 2013 1 Comment

Although we have been on the farm for almost 2 years now, and have had 4 calves being born, we had not witnessed a single birth. Our farm hand Manjunath, with his unerring knowledge of such things, has always warned us a couple of days before the actual birth. “Just a few more days to go..” he would warn us. Godavari, the first one to calve, just a month after we moved in, gave birth to Gomati when she was out grazing in the forest nearby. Manjunath seeing that she did not return at the usual time, went in search of her and brought her back along with the little calf.  

Gomati - born in the forest adjoining our farm 

Shravani was born when we were travelling out on work, and so was Balaram. 

 


Shravani and Gomati both a few weeks old

Balaram enjoying some sunshine while Phoenix and Zuki watch over him protectively


Kalindi’s birth was the quickest, because although I was checking on Kaveri, every hour, she had shown no signs at 8 am, but by 9 she had delivered the little one and both were already up and perky. Incidentally during that time we were getting the cow shed renovated and all the cows were tethered out in the farm. 


Kalindi born out in the farm where the cows were tethered during the renovation of the cow shed  

 

The Cow shed before renovation  

The spanking new cowshed inaugrated by 5 day old Kalindi

Then finally this May we were expecting Kaveri to calve any time. We took turns during the night to check on her every few hours. At around 5 am, it was V’s turn and he came back rushing to say that Kaveri seemed extremely uneasy. Both of us rushed to the cow shed.   Kaveri, although uneasy, appeared in total control of the situation. Most of the times, these animals do not need any help with their delivery. But still . .....niggling doubts assailed my mind. What if it was a breech presentation? What if the hind legs appear first, what if........? Should we call the vet right away?   If there was a need, it would take him at least an hour to get here. But fortunately all seemed in order. Two little hooves appeared, followed by a tiny limp head. Does the head always look so limp? Is it alive? The eyes were shut tight. Then a slight twitch of the tiny nostrils!   Yes it was alive. The miracle of birth was unfolding in the quiet stable with a whole bunch of unperturbed cows silently chewing their cud. A few more minutes and the calf was out!   Come on folks aren’t you all going to applaud? But no, the new member of their clan did not yet merit a second glance. The dark brown, ungainly little creature, still damp struggled to look around. Large eyes blinked as I shone the torch to examine it. All seemed in order. The mother nuzzled it and it responded by craning its neck in her direction. She proceeded to give it a rough rub down, licking it thoroughly and it seemed to get more and more alert and perky with every passing minute. I took a gunny sack and did my bit of rubbing the little one. In a few moments, it was ready to try out its legs. The floor was too slippery but this little one was not to be deterred. It raised itself up and promptly slid down with its long skittle legs going in different directions. Worried that it might injure itself, we spread a thick layer of dry hay around it. Yes, that did help and on the fourth or fifth attempt, the calf actually stood up and nuzzled close to the mother. Now the mother and baby could be left alone. As the first rays of the morning sun began to light up the world, the little one gave a tiny barely audible bleat. A baby born at dawn – the only name I could think of was Bhairav –the beautiful morning raga which heralds the arrival of dawn!  And so Bhairav completed the trio of male calves – Bheem, Balaram and Bhairav!

Kalindi has a little brother now - Bhairav