Since we've had such big calves born here on the farm for so long it's still a shock to us when a lowline calf is born. Last week, we had a little boy born and he is as small as last year's Blackberry. He's so small Dave keeps calling him a "she." He doesn't have a name yet, but after being out of the stall for only ten minutes he was already on the other side of the fence. Being around cows for a while now, I have learned to differentiate between their mooing.
-Moooo = I'm happy, I'm looking for my baby, or I'm impatient for my food because I'm on the opposite side of the barn from where you started feeding.
-Moo Moo Moo Moo Moo (it keeps going and going...) = These short, quick mooos are due to a baby that refuses to nurse when the mother wants it to (generally because the calf is too busy playing with other calves) or because a baby is sleeping with another calf about 10 feet away and the mother wants it next to her for bedtime. This generally starts around 11-11:30 at night when she makes sure it's pitch black and as far away from the house as possible and goes on ALL NIGHT LONG depending on the mother. At about 2am, Dave gets all suited up to make sure that everything is all right and comes back to bed shaking his head while mumbling the popular phrase used in these situations, "Stupid cows." We have seen mothers mooing like this in the face of their baby about a foot away while the calf is happily laying in a ball ignoring their mother. You would think the calf would listen just to get their mother to stop nagging them...but I guess they are no different than children. In these cases, the mothers of the world can sympathize.
-Mooooo (in unison from every cow over 15 months old which sounds like a couple rounds of "Row, Row, Row your Boat") = I see you fixing/putting up the fence in the next pasture and we want over there NOW! The calves are generally playing not caring a lick and this generally ends up with one or two of them not crossing over to the other pasture, thus leading to more mooing from their mothers (refer to "Moo Moo Moo Moo Moo...", above).
-Moo Moo = I'm spoiled and just want you to remember that.
-Moo Moo followed by Ma Ma (from the baby) = This sound was what I heard Sunday morning that made me jump up and run to the back window and scan the backyard. This generally means, "What are you doing on the other side of the fence?? GET BACK HERE!" Such a Moo is followed by the response of, "I don't know how...and I'm ready to panic any second."
Thankfully, this time it was just one baby on the wrong side of the fence and due to it being so youg it wasn't veering too far. This first time mother was great trying to help guide her baby while pushing the other very nosy calves aside so the baby can come back over. Generally this mooing causes quick panic as I run to the window with fear because this usually means a cow is out. Most of the time, however, it's not just one...a brief moment of confusion sets in when I look to the backyard and see cows/calves just roaming around. Running to the phone to contact Dave, I wonder if I should try and count who's in the backyard first or see if any made it to the front yard. Usually I go to the front yard first to get an overall assessment of the situation before returning to the backyard. Though in the case of Daffodil, she's so people friendly and comfortable in her environment (as a result of being bottle-fed) that she's usually wandered off out of sight even before I've noticed the animals in the yard. Thankfully she's so driven to please people and be around them that she comes hustling back when she sees any of us. Oddly enough she heels better than our two hounds...
This year for some reason we have a bunch of rambunctious calves. Perhaps it's due to the fact that they are all so close in age, but you can regularly watch them chasing each other darting in and out around their mothers and head-butting their buddy. Their poor mothers look exhausted and worn as they try to keep track of their little ones and their trouble-making schemes...I just give them a quick pat on the head and while nodding say, "I understand Momma..."