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  • Every hour, in the middle of the night, for six hours I checked on Chocolate, my first cow to calve this spring. Each time I checked on her she was a little further along. Everything looked good. One little hoof, then two, a tiny nose, it wouldn’t be long I thought until we would have our first baby. At around midnight I went out with my torch to see if we had our first calf of the year. And there she was lying on the ground, Chocolate was licking her frantically and mooing to her with a deep low sound cows reserve for their new babies. But, all her and my efforts to revive the new born were in vein, she was dead.

    The next day I buried her and as I returned to check on Chocolate I saw three cows in the paddock. In the couple of hours that I was burying Chocolates calf, Buttercup had given birth to her calf and he was up and walking about. Not only that but he had two mothers. Chocolate had decided this new baby must be her calf and both cows we fussing over the new arrival. I had to get a calf for Chocolate so I called my sister in law, Jennifer who lives on a dairy farm not far from us. The next day she arrived with a beautiful we heifer calf for Chocolate. Chocolate didn’t accept the new calf straight away and in fact didn’t seem to like her at all. I would have to introduce them slowly over the next few weeks.

    The next day as we were heading over to the milking shed Buttercup stumbled and fell to the ground. She didn’t get up but instead lay on her side. This is a bad sign. I felt her ears, they were cold, she was sweating and her nose was dry. She had milk fever. I called our vet Emily. She was over within half an hour and listened to her heart and gut sounds. It was milk fever alright so out with the calcium, one bag under the skin and another straight into the vein. Within no time she was showing signs of recovery but still didn’t get up. We put a horse cover over her and left her with some hay overnight. In the morning she was back to her usual bossy self and looking for more to eat. Since then she has been doing well and giving us 20 litres of milk each day as well as feeding her calf, no wonder she had her calcium reserves strained.

    Chocolate is feeding the new calf but only if I stand along side her and growl when she tries to bunt the calf away. It’s going to take a while to get her to fully accept the calf but with perserverance I think they will get along just fine.
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