Friday, April 24, 2015

IT TAKES A HERD - PART 2: MAISIE AND THE WOLVES


MAISIE AND THE WOLVES

This morning, before the sun had risen above the trees, I woke up to the sound of a cow bellowing. She was in the paddock across the little valley to the east, in front of our house. Our bedroom is upstairs and faces the valley, but I could see nothing from the balcony outside our bedroom.

I took this photo later in the day. It is what I saw as I
looked out on the field earlier. Can you see Maisie?
She is just above the milk cart, on the crest of the hill
From that balcony, there are many tree branches that block my vision, so I went downstairs and stepped outside to where I could get a clear view. I did not like what I saw.



Our heifer cow, Maisie, was standing on a rise in the paddock. It was she that was bellowing. I had been expecting her to be having a calf this week, and I suspected her vocalizing had something to do with this. It would be her first. But when I saw the reason for her bellows, I became frightened for her. There were two wolves also with her in the pasture, running back and forth and circling her.

Seeing this, I myself bellowed. Not the same as Maisie, but I yelled as loud as I could. But the wolves were far away and I knew that they would need a louder sound than my own voice to frighten them. I ran back to the house to get a rifle.

I don’t know what the present law is for shooting wolves. It goes back and forth. But I was not really shooting for the kill. At that distance, and with the wolves running, I knew that I could never hit them anyway. So I just shot in their vicinity, but not to hit anything. The sound of the shot was enough, even though it was a small caliber rifle. The wolves ran into the woods.

Most of the other cows were up by the barn, but McTavish, our bull, was not. Although I had not noticed him at first, he was down by Maisie and facing off the wolves. As I stood there, the other cows now started down the valley to go out to where Maisie was. I expected that there would also be a calf lying there, but I wondered if it would be alive.

I was in my pajamas and bare feet, so I ran back in the house and put on my jeans and boots. With the rifle still in my hand, I followed the rest of the herd up the other side of the valley. Maisie seemed to have settled down.

By the time I got to her, all the cows were gathered around,
looking at and sniffing a little red calf that was lying in the short grass. There was also blood around the spot in the field. At first fearful at what I might find, as I approached the newborn, I could see that the calf was fine. It was alive and seemed healthy, still wet from the birth. The blood on the ground was that of the birthing process.

I stooped down to rub it a little and to check it over. A little bull calf. McTavish seems to be following the Rhody tradition. He has mostly boys.

Maisie was also fine. A couple hours later, she had her first calf nursing from her. She will be a good mother.

I will have all the cows and calves up by the barn tonight.
 

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