But I need to back up!
The goats have been the first to Kid(the common term for a goat that births). Every day we open the doors to the barn and a new little voice is heard. They have mostly given birth to twins of which all have been a healthy group of fun to watch. They don't hesitate to jump on your back and nibble at your clothes while we check to see the health of moms and their new youngsters. We have been constantly checking in on other expectant moms as well The pigs and the cattle are also on the calender. Our two friendly sows have been expanding their girth over the last few months. While they can have as many as 17+ wieners(the term used for baby pigs), it can be a tricky time to make sure they all survive. Momma sow is very large in comparison to her new little ones and can easily crush them. We've found that if they have access to a heat lamp, survival rates are much higher. The only problem with this is that for the birth and the first few hours of their life , we need to be onsite 24/7. I use the term we lightly I might add. When the sow's farrowing(the term used for a pig birthing) was close my husband(that would be Cam), packed up a blanket and pillow to begin his shift in obstetrics while I was snuggled in my blankets in an ever so cozy bed! In order for this all to go without a hitch Cam slept(or not) beside her pen and waited for the tell tale signs. It all started at 2 am and for the next three hours her delivery produced 11 wee pink babies. Pigs have one womb in which two compartments house the gestating piglets and as a rule they birth one compartment and then the other. Our two sows have gifted us with a total of 21 piglets. P.S. Cam caught up on his sleep the next evening on a rare night out at the movies.
So now we come to the surprise!
Yesterday on his way out to the cow yard Cam was met by a newborn calf. Keep in mind we had a temperature of -22 and as I said we keep track of breeding dates to mostly prevent these incidences from happening.This particular cow was purchased last year and the breeding date was unknown. We thought we had approximately 1 month to go before she calved and weren't looking too closely for signs of delivery. She promptly produced a healthy baby girl! The health of the cow is a direct connection to the health of its offspring. Their months of summer feeding on grasses and mineral supplements have given them the strong constitution to weather the winter months. Of course this new family got front row seats in the barn where the calf and mom can focus on getting stronger. These minus 30 evenings make the cattle work harder and use up their bodily resources just to stay warm. A calf is somewhat susceptible to plummeting temperatures let alone the hungry wildlife that lurks in our forest land.
And so our barn is filled with new life, There are moments we stop to observe the new moms and babes. So much can be learned by taking the time to just watch them just be them! We see from the moment they are born how their life lessons begin. Personalities begin to form as they grow into their surroundings and hierarchies develop. It is a privilege to witness the simplicity of a mother feeding her young. These babies seems to bring forth a certain amount of promise that new life brings particularly in the new year.It brings with it the hope that the farm flourishes. and the newest plans and ambitions we hope to achieve come to fruition. The endless lists of improvements for land and animals that we hope to accomplish. That we keep our beliefs and practices of a farm that we can be proud of. And finally we look forward to continuing to encourage, and support other farmers big and small to "Keep On Keepin On".