Calving in November. Not something I look forward to but sometimes it happens and I have to deal with it. I knew this little black cow was close to ready the night before so I got out early in the morning to check. Sure enough, she was out in the bush by the far hay feeder with a new calf. It was not too cold or windy but still, 15 degrees F will chill an animal when it is wet and this cow had not done a really good job of drying off the calf. It was standing and shaky but at least not laying in the snow.
Last winter I carried a calf from about that same point all the way back to the shelter and it is not something I'd care to repeat . So I walked back to the yard and fired up the old GMC, threw a bit of flax straw in the back. Luckily there is not too much snow to get around with a 2 wheel drive pickup with all season tires on.
The cow didn't look too threatening but you can never be sure. I gave her a handful of hay to divert her attention, quickly picked up the calf and carried it out to the truck box where it stood, shakily for the short ride back to the shelter.
I had put up corral panels to partition off a corner of the shelter hoping to shut them in there the same as last winter. The rest of the herd followed along looking for their morning chop ration. I figured I could attract the mother into the corral in the shelter with a pail of chop but no, she was more interested in heading back to the bush where her calf had been born. A little confused. Meanwhile the calf lays in the shelter, which is really just a protection from the wind, getting colder by the minute. So I picked the calf up again and carried it right into the barn which is a much more comfortable place to work. Got the old oil fired space heater set up and directed on the calf, at a safe distance so as not to burn it. After a while it laid down, still shaking and not looking too lively.
Eventually I shut down the heater and figured give it a bit of time, maybe look at getting some milk replacer for it. Just as I was leaving the barn I saw the herd returning , including the mother cow, and she was coming right in for a drink from the trough which is right by the door of the barn. So, pick up that calf again and carry it outside the door where she can see it and hopefully follow it into the barn. I got lucky, it worked. Nobody else got in the way and she was enticed into the barn where I was able to close the doors against the elements and let them spend some time together. It is probably the best place for the calf just now. I frequently see coyotes around the shelter area and while I have never had an incident of a coyote attacking a calf, no need to take the chance.
Twenty four hours later they are looking good.