I’m super excited to announce a new birth at Fangorn!
We were talking with the painter (!) when Georgie ran over to us, excitedly exclaiming that “the new calf has arrived!” I was puzzled because the new steers arrived a few weeks ago. She was jumping up and down, pointing into the paddock. “No, Bella has had her calf!” And lo and behold, on looking up into the paddock, we could see a tiny pair of ears flicking around in the grass beside Bella, who was happily munching away on the grass. That little black blob by Bella brought a lot of excitement and I had to excuse myself from the painter (!) and run inside, grab my camera and check on this new baby!
Daisy is mostly dexter – Bella is a dexter cross (we think she might be crossed with a Freisian) and the sire is a purebred dexter. We first liked the idea of getting dexters when we began watching ‘River Cottage’ years ago (the same program that was part of our inspiration to come here to Tassie to search for sustainable living).
She is such a little black thing. She was pretty dry when we first saw her but she did have a bit of damp, so she must have been born a few hours before we actually noticed her! I had heard Bella lowing the day before (a maternal calling that cows make, even before calving) and I noticed she was really waddling yesterday morning (all the joints loosening up before calving) but we were still surprised it was born yesterday. We are also really grateful that Bella survived her first calving experience; we have heard about heifers and some of the problems that can occur during calving.
Naturally, the first thing we wanted to know (after assessing vital life signs and all that) was whether it was a girl or a boy. It’s no secret that we were really hoping for a girl. You can keep girls to add to the herd but you end up eating the boys – and I am really glad that we do not have to eat Daisy! It can be hard to check the sex of a new calf, mainly because they don’t let you too close to them, but I could see that she looked female from behind, and Monte grabbed her and checked for little udders – whilst doing that she weed on his hand (if it was a boy the wee would come out at the belly). We were really happy that we had a new girl, and Georgie suggested naming her Daisy – a name we had talked about for quite a while – and we agreed. Daisy it is! Yay!
I have been really happy about Daisy. She is gorgeous, and a few times she has inquisitively come close to me, so I have had a chance to give her warm, soft coat of new fur a bit of a pat. Bella is a good mum, ‘talking’ to Daisy constantly, guiding her away from potential harm; cleaning her; feeding her. Bella seems less grumpy too, letting me pat her without trying to kill me with her horns.
Bella is beautiful and protective of her calf. I love watching them together. She is always aware of where Daisy is, and she stays close by to her, keeping a watchful gaze on her.
As I have been writing this post, I have been glancing out of the window to watch little Daisy leaping and running about. Yesterday she was very wobbly on her new legs but today she is frolicking about, exploring, staying close enough to her mother so she can run to her for shelter, food and safety. Isn’t it wonderful?!
Please forgive me for all the anthropomorphising I have committed in this post!