Apr 25, 2011

"Judgment Call"

One of our cows in the birthing stall waiting to have her baby.

The whole calving experience is one of trying to make the best judgments possible for the welfare of the animals.  It is not an easy task.
You are always hoping you are doing it right. 
There is absolutely no room for pride.
Like the children's game of musical chairs, the goal is to have everyone be in the right place at the right time so the mothers and babies are safe.

Gustav shuffling one cow out to make room for the next one coming in.
It is almost automatic to do an assessment every morning and evening, checking to see which cow or heifer is moving along in the process and which one is next to be moved into a birthing stall.
After doing that for a few calving seasons it is easy to start considering oneself  "discerning", "capable", or better yet,  even "knowledgable".

So it was a little unexpected when Corvin,
 who had the sum total of nine days of experience on the farm, 
approached me one morning in the barn, after all the cows had been appropriately shuffled for the day and said:
"Nainy...I think we have made a mistake. 
 I think we should be moving this cow into a birthing stall instead of that
 other one".

We weren't sure he was correct,
but we thought it was important to respect his feelings. 
 So we did exactly as he suggested and traded the two cows.

Corvin watching as the mother licks her newborn baby clean 5 minutes after the birth.

This picture shows what happened
 one hour later!
(You go Corvin!)

If Corvin wouldn't have been  so caring and observant,
or if Gustav and I would have been too arrogant to consider
 the 'new guy's'  opinion,
 this beautiful little calf would have been born in the dung ditch
to a mother who was tied up and unable to take care of it.
Instead it was born into a warm birthing stall,
 onto a bed of soft, clean straw,
with it's mother at it's side.

I love the words of Rudyard Kipling's hymn
 'God of Our Fathers, Known of Old'
that say:

"The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart.
Still stands thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart."

We know that when we are humbly trying to do our best,
 and are open to inspiration,
 we will be blessed.
And we were.

In the case of this particular judgment call,
all three of us got it right!

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