At A Rusty Knoll we have two expectant mothers, Good Golly Miss Molly and Malie. Molly is an experienced mom, old enough I have not been able to convince her treats from my hand and brushing are OK. Malie came to A Rusty Knoll just after being wined and she has become my pet.
September 10th I was out doing baby check and offering treats. Malie had some cookies and let me brush her about 9:30 am. Around 10:30 she laid down and I could see she was in labor. I sent messages and Rachel was on her way over. Malie’s labor progressed quickly she delivered at 11:54 am. I was in the mid 90’s super hot for fall calving season. Malie was good with me bringing her water once the pair settled down and were laying next to each other I went up and petted the calf. We let them rest and bond and moved onto the other farm chores.
That evening it was obvious there was an issue with Malie’s bag. She didn’t have one. The calf was aggressively nursing but kept going from teat to teat not getting much. They looked OK so we let it go for the night. The 11th still had concerns but calf was giving it all she had to get from mom what she needed. On the 12th I was doing calf check and could NOT find the baby. I tromped thru weeds above my head for three hours. Found an armadillo but no calf. It had been at least 17 hrs since I had seen the calf and I was heart broken thinking Malie’s calf died. I called Dustin upset and crying and told him what I feared. As I was walking along the woods above the pasture where the cows were I saw movement. I found the calf and she was alive and a long way from mom!!!
Wayne was at a conference out of town, one I missed because of the baby and our concerns so Dustin and Rachel were my support system. Dustin headed to our farm while I waited and kept an eye on the baby. Rachel’s friend from CO was due at their place so she was waiting for their arrival. Everyone got to farm at the same time and we devised a plan for the calf and mom. I was trying to coax Malie up to the calf but she kept looking in the tall weeds .
Plan was take calf to the building and get her a bottle. Keep the calf alive and worry about mom later. With 4 adults we figured out how to give a calf a bottle and got her settled. I made her – Magnolia a room of her own so Thaddeus couldn’t bother her. I fed another bottle before bed and we settled in for the night. Maggie was calm and quite, Thaddeus a nervous Nelly. In the morning Dustin came over and we fed another bottle and went to prepare the barn to get Malie up. Luckily the herd came up for water so getting Malie into the welcome center was easy. We went to the building and loaded the calf into the UTV and took her to her mom. They were so glad to be reunited!
We left the pair in the barn/ welcome center for 24 hours so they could bond. They were then released in to out area where I could watch and make sure the calf followed mom so they wouldn’t get separated again. Malie still did not have a bag. Maggie would approach me when I came out in the morning so I offered a bottle. She was more than happy to take the bottle while Malie watched wondering what I was doing. This week we had the vet out to check Malie, she did not have a bag yet. Vet said that because its a first time heifer, because the calf was over two weeks early, because the temperatures were so high as long as she was doing a good job mothering were OK. Give the calf a bottle if she wants one , once a day is not going to hurt anything and her nursing aggression should bring the milk in. It looked as though the calf was getting most of what she needed from mom.
I’m sad I had to “help” Malie with mothering but I am enjoying the experience and time with them both. Grateful Malie is comfortable with me and the interaction with the calf. Still waiting for Miss Molly to deliver.