Acacia had her Guernsey bull calf on Aug. 2nd, but things have not gone as well as we had hoped. Progress is being made on some fronts however. We have splurged in a bit of cream, which makes life worth while, especially whipped in coffee. We have not had any milk in quite a while as I am still feeding Lillian everyday, but not milking her as the twins are drinking it all and she is pretty thin.
I wanted to make the Boer something special this weekend so instead of making poffertjes which are mini Dutch Babies or Yorkshire Pudding, I wanted to try a single Dutch Baby and add peaches. It was superb, and super easy.
Preheat oven to 450.
6 fresh eggs
9 oz. whole raw milk
9 oz. organic white flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon Real salt
1 tbls homemade vanilla (less if using store-bought)
3 tbls maple syrup
Whip everything together with your stick blender, or just whisk well.
When the oven is at temperature, put several tablespoons of coconut oil on a large #12 cast iron skillet and place in hot oven for at least 7 minutes to get really hot.
Slice two large peaches in thin slices and add to batter.
Carefully pour peaches and batter into hot pan with coconut oil and spread the peaches out evenly.
Return to oven and lower the temp to 400 for 22 minutes, then lower it to 300 for another 5 minutes. Do not open door. I do not have a window in my oven, so sometimes I have to play with temps and times on the next try to get it exactly right, but this turned out very well.
Really a hit with the Boer.
There is nothing that compares with raw cream that has been separated using a cream separator.
So all of the hard work and worry over Acacia is worth it.
On Aug. 2nd, she walked out into the meadow and lay down and right away began to have her calf. I was checking on her, as the man drove away, and I was relieved to see him come right back when he saw that she laid down.
The front hooves were already out, as was his tongue and he was a very big calf, her first, and so he decided to put the pulling chains on his front feet and help her if she needed it.
She has always been a strange acting heifer, and she stood up, so it was good he had the chains on and pulled the calf.
It took her a while to figure out that it was her baby, and all seemed well, she made her mama noise and licked him off. (Yes, it is bit of a disappointment that he is a bull calf, but he is A2/A2 and so we have decided to keep him as a bull to breed with next year.)
A couple hours later the man carries him into the new stall in the barn, to make sure they bond well and that he can nurse and be safe for the night. He is a very big calf. We could not get him to nurse, and she kept walking away, but even tying her up, he was too strong to make him nurse. Usually they can get it figured out in a couple of hours.
Lillian and the twins wanted to know what was going on.
The next morning he still had not nursed. Acacia has very little maternal instinct, and would move away from him and as the days went on, would kick him and head butt him into the wall. I was giving him bottles 3 times a day, and he was getting stronger and more aggressive to just persist in nursing when we had her in the stanchion or held her.
Unfortunately the night he was born when they were in the stall, she must have laid down hard next to the wooden slats, as she broke her tailbone. There was a lot of swelling and a injury mark right at her tail head, and she still has no feeling in her tail and cannot lift or move it at all. I am sure that is causing her a lot of pain.
The calf has been lost several times in the meadow and down at the river, which has been stressful. Newborns have an instinct to lay quiet and still, and not to move until Mama comes back and calls them out of hiding with her Mama noise. Acacia does not do that. But he has survived, and now he keeps up with the herd and can nurse on his own. It has been three days since I have given him a bottle. It was definitely touch and go as to whether she would even be able to produce enough milk for his bottles, much less for us the have any, but she is doing much better.
The first week or so, we had to tie her back leg to a post in the stanchion, which has two sides and can squeeze her close to one side. We also had to use a Cow Can’t Kick on her back, and boy even with all that, she could kick and fight with everything in her. She is so much better and now I can milker her without tying her leg, and no cow can’t kick either. We milk her in the morning and to make sure she is checked and her tail washed twice a day (because she can’t lift it when she poops either) feed her and make sure the calf nurses, we put her in the stanchion in the evening as well. He now can nurse on all fours without her kicking him.
The other evening I was trying to find her to bring her up for the evening and to do everything, and she was in the deep river, on the other side, under a big birch tree. She must have been there for a few hours, and did not know what to do, so Luit had to go in after her and somehow drug her through the deep water, and she was cold and scared. She had been running a slight temperature, and since she has broken her tail we thought perhaps she had not cleaned out all of the discharge afterbirth. On the 12th and 13th we gave her two shots of lutylase which will help them have contractions and go into heat to clean out, so hopefully that will not get worse.
What is very troubling about her is sometimes she will go into a sort of stupor, and has fallen in the past and gone in circles. A few days ago and this morning, she had some sort of seizure, went into a daze and could not get up and them we finally got her up and she was very wobbly, and started pacing and going in circles. Perhaps is is nerves in her spine, or some imbalance, so Luit gave her some Cal-Mag in a wine bottle over the tongue with some molasses. It takes her a while to sort of snap out of it, and we still hope that it is just being caused by the swelling on her spine from her injury. The vet thinks that her tail should heal, and we sure hope so.
A few days ago Lillian went into heat and was jumping on her, which I am sure hurt and scared her to death, as she has always been scared of the other cows. Thankfully our friend Meike let us rent her yearling Jersey bull and by the time we got him home, Lillian was in standing heat for about an hour, then the romance was over. Hopefully he was tall enough to get the job done. We shall see in about 15 days or so.