We recently did some family photos with our cattle... what we didn't realize is that these photos were ACTUALLY Big Mama's maternity photo shoot. She, however, absolutely knew it was her moment:
She likes the spotlight!
We have had suspicions that a couple of our cows may be bred, but honestly were not sure about Big Mama as she just gave us a calf last August (who has grown quite big!):
Her baby Jupiter, a heifer, was our first calf born on the ranch.
Our bull, Tonka, was just coming to breeding age, and we honestly didn't know if he had proven himself yet. Big Mama also carries herself well and is so large, she hid her pregnancy well!
But, just as Rancher Rob pulled into the pasture to check cattle last night, he found Big Mama on her back, legs in the air which of course was cause for concern! He watched as her water broke, and labor set in. An amazing moment and lucky timing!!
He called for me and the kids to hurry over and we raced into the car to see the birth of our second baby, a bull calf, sired by Tonka!
We all watched as Big Mama cleaned him up and he took his first steps. The kids had tons of questions of course, and Evelyn sketched the scene in her notebook - a budding artist!
The night ahead included frequent checks on mother and baby to ensure their safety, nursing, and overall success. Around midnight, Rancher Rob discovered the calf covered in frost (temps dropped low last night), and getting bullied a bit by her older sibling, Jupiter.
In an effort to keep the calf safe, dry and warm, we agreed to bring him in. We had a bottle of frozen colostrum from Big Mama's first delivery ready to go. It is hard to know if you're making the right call in these situations, but all we can do is make decisions with the information we have at the time, trying to do right by the animals. Big Mama was off eating, and was not distressed.
He had a peaceful night, warm in the cabin. I stayed with him to keep an eye on things, and we dried him off until his grey fluff puffed up.
The kids were a bit shocked to find a calf in their kitchen this morning!!
Rancher Rob quickly prepared a small pen for the calf and Big Mama in our grazing pasture, where they could have some privacy first thing this morning. He hooked up the trailer, and hauled her back from the big pasture. They immediately nursed and settled.
The baby bull, who we are calling "Bond" due to his "7" shaped marking on his face (James Bond, 007...), frolicked aound and has been doing wonderfully.
Big Mama lives up to her name and is very special to us. Congratulations Big Mama!