“That heifer’s trying to having a backwards calf.”
It was not an atypical message screamed each year about this time, as the back door slammed open.
But, it was noon, and not midnight as is more typical.
The cowboy was hunting coyotes, the cowgirl had her horse loaded to go roping, and the boss just got the cast off a broken arm, so we were forced into action.
Grunting to our self, we’d pulled some over clothes on and headed to the barn where the heifer had already been roped and dallied to the fence.
Good news first: the calf was not backwards, and both legs were showing. The new-momma-to-be was rambunctious, but we’ve seen far worse, roped and tied to the truck bumper in a section pasture.
A gated-alley used for haltering colts worked swell for pinching the heifer to get a rope halter on, so she wouldn’t choke when we tied her to the post.
The boss was forced to stay back, and the cowgirl went to work half-hitching leg chains, as we only assisted when asked, knowing better than to give orders, or even advice.
Fortunately, we now have a factory-made calf puller. It’s far better than a block-and-tackle, fence-stretcher, tractor, pickup, mechanical-bale-handler or a lariat dallied around our horse’s saddle horn, all methods sometimes used to assist delivery.
With the tool applied to legs-chain, the cowgirl started the pulling process. Heifer remained standing, and soon baby gently rolled to the ground, as afterbirth was quickly removed from the nose, while eyes gleamed, as she squirmed and shivered in the strange new world.
Halter was removed from momma, who had no clue what all had happened, and she hightailed it towards the correl. But, the gate was closed, so we guided her into the barn, with the newborn.
It wasn’t instant maternal relationship, but soon, they were an inseparable pair. No matter how many calves, colts, pigs, puppies or kittens are born on the ranch, new life remains a phenomenon.
Yet, we thought of Jeremiah 14:5: “The heifer gives birth to her calf in the field and forsakes it.” But, Leviticus 22:28: “When a calf is born, it is to stay with its mother.”
Reminds us most of Job 10:11: “What a miracle of skin, bone, muscle and brain, life itself.”