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It's a Heifer

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

She's here!

Isla arrived on a cold, muddy, snowy noon the last day of 2020.

Her birth story...

Ana, being a dairy mama, had her baby in the mud! Nights, she had been spending in the stall; but chose to have her baby outdoors in front of the stall in the middle of the day.

She didn't know for sure what to do with this cute, wet bundle of joy. She licked her off a bit tentatively, not too thoroughly, and felt generally confused.

"Why is this little thing that smells so nice, just lying in the mud where she has been plopped?"

"Am I responsible for this?"

"Now what?"

Poor mama, who has had two little calves, but has never been allowed to keep them! She gave some little soft encouraging moos, but it didn't seem to do any good.

Luckily for both, the boss saw the bundle on the ground, that looked like a pile of hay. On closer inspection, the pile had eyes! and ears!

The next {almost} scary bit... Jersey calves are born with little body fat. Although this is nice for birthing, it's not so nice for their fortitude after birth.

Isla had been too long in the cold and mud (at 10 degrees Fahrenheit); and we nearly lost her. After drying her thoroughly with all the bath towels in the house, and holding her up to drink (she was too weak to stand) and getting some good vitamins & nutrients (her mama's colostrum); we brought her indoors to lie in the sun for a couple hours. A heater blew blasts of hot air onto her shivering body. After a long long while, her shivering stopped, and she slept.

Isla got to go back out to her stall, now thoroughly lined with straw. Ana was excited to see her again, but didn't understand the part about standing still so her new little one could drink; and really, Isla was still too weak to stand. We milked Ana with the milker, and gave Isla a bottle to teach her how to drink. When she didn't get it mastered, we had a friend come out and drench her with the colostrum.

It took her a good 24 hours to start acting like she might actually like to live. I guess that's normal for Jersey calves, they will do their level best to die on you the first day. Never mind that we had a cow who wasn't used to taking care of her little one. (We were afraid she would inadvertently lie on her and squish her to death.)

But all is well that ends well! Mama and baby became fast friends. We now have a healthy heifer. She is growing like a weed, and sometimes I can't believe that a month ago I could pick her up! The name Isla means 'dynamic' and 'bright'. If you should drive up to our milk room, you'd see Isla tearing around the pasture, and sometimes, even, the yard; her eyes sparkling bright and full of mischief.

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Sharon Faircloth
Sharon Faircloth
Feb 25, 2021

Awww... she is a little “deer!” 🥰 Amd her name fits her perfectly!


Tina Isaac
Tina Isaac
Feb 05, 2021

I'm glad she survived. That sounded scary. Would love to see her.

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