Assisting The Birth Of A Calf

The Miracle Of Life

We never know what the day has in storage for us and sometimes the most unexpectedly crazy things end up being the most beautiful experiences we have.

On Saturday evening I was getting ready for a night of clubbing in the city with some friends. As usual for these occasions I was wearing one of my little dresses and a flimsy coat, something very light so I would not become too hot in the clubs. All my other friends were dressed equally Summery, despite the weather being under zero degrees. After dinner and a few drinks, we were all ready to go dancing when one of my friends had an urgent phone call. One of his cows was in labour and another one was starting to give birth and they needed him there. So off he went and for some strange reason everybody else decided to follow him instead of going clubbing.


calf after a few minutes of being born
calf after a few minutes of being born | Source

So, there we were, at midnight in the middle of the countryside in high heels and short dresses standing over iced-up puddles looking at a group of white cows. At first sight there was nothing happening until we saw one of the cows walking around with two little feet sticking out from under her tail. My friend got dressed in his farming clothes and went to help his cow while the rest of us were looking attentively from the other side of the gates. Some of the boys started going back to the house next to the stables to look for a hot drink while the girls stayed waiting for some action.

Eventually the cow was ready to give birth and settled in a corner so on a whim I climbed up the gate and went into the stables to caress her head. I must admit that this was the first time that I had seen a cow so close, I didn’t realize how big they were or how little I was next to one of them, and there was at least a dozen pregnant cows in there. But I don’t know what strange feeling took hold of me and I just wanted to comfort the cow. Looking back, maybe it was because I was the only one who had been a mother in the group of girls, that I felt some kind of “mother sisterhood” with the animal, maybe it was just curiosity, maybe it is just me!

Only after a few minutes of being born

First steps
First steps

Assisting the Birth of a Calf

After I went next to the cow, things happened very quickly. I started caressing her ears, whispering comforting things to her. She loved having her head scratched by my long nails and I was just left in another planet caressing such an enormous beast. At first my friend was worried when he saw me coming in but soon he forgot about me when he realized that we were both comfortable with it and the cow seemed to be comforted by my touch.


Eventually my friend put on these enormous plastic gloves that reached to his shoulders and introduced his hands in the cow's birth canal to tie up a cord around the little babies’ feet which had decided to go back in. After that, things went really fast; a couple of strong pulls of the cord and the calf was out, all covered in blood and fluids. The mother seemed to be very tired and the calf was unconscious. I thought it was dead as it was not moving or making a noise. Immediately, my friend poured a few drops of vinegar in the baby’s ear and the baby came back to life.

After that, cow and calf were taken together to a separate pen with clean straw where they were left alone to get to know each other. The baby had been heavily sprinkled with salt to encourage the mother to lick him to clean her and warm her up.

I was almost on the verge of tears having seen such a wonderful event. Me, a city girl was there comforting a cow, kneeling down next to her on the straw while she was giving birth. Because the cow had felt at ease with me –apparently some of them are very nervous and do not like strangers near them- my friend let me in the “private” pen to caress the mother and baby afterwards until the baby was completely clean and was encouraged by her mother to give her first steps and nurse.

Meantime, another cow that was also in labour when we arrived was having her baby all by herself. This one being a more nervous type did not allow anyone near her or her newborn who was bigger and stronger looking than the first newborn.

It was only when we went back to the house where the boys were finishing all the left over champagne from the New Year celebrations around the fireplace that I realized that my hands were numb and blue with the cold and it was minus 7 degrees outside! My high heels were ruined with mud and dirt and my coat full of straw. But it was such a wonderful experience that I wouldn’t mind freezing again just to share such a fantastic moment.

Calf care : a few minutes after calving

Calf Care basics

  • Calves are expected to nurse in the first two hours after birth. The colostrum milk provides the calf with an initial dose of antibodies vital in the first four hours after birth.

  • The calf is very susceptible to hypothermia, particularly in the first four hours. Hence the importance to urge the cow to lick her calf to clean it and keep it warm. "Newborn calves have only 3% body fat (compared to 16% in human newborns), leaving them heavily dependent on nutritional energy sources for heat production" (Alexander et al. 1975).

Coming back to see the newborn calf

© 2009 Wendy Iturrizaga

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Comments 26 comments

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Princessa! I understand that sisterhood that you're talking about. I was sobbing the first time I saw Daisy (my Jersey cow) give birth. Everytime is such a miracle. Those are the moments I miss the most of not having the farm anymore. Great hub regards Zsuzsy

sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Princessa this is a lovely story and a fitting way for a new year and new life to begin. i envy your wonderful experience!

BrianS profile image

BrianS 7 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

You are right Princessa there is no other event as heart warming as witnessing the start of a new life and as you have demonstrated that does not have to be human life as all life is precious.

Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France Author

Zsuzsy: Happy new year! I understand how you can miss having your farm. You know I am more of a city girl... but maybe I am changing, I have been left wanting more :-)

Sixtyorso: I am looking forwards to repeating the experience, it has been my best start of the year!

Brian: heart warming indeed, everything looks different afterwards.

Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

I can never relate to maternal instinct and such but I can tell it was really an amazing and amusing experience for you based on how "light" it felt like when I was reading it and how "loving" you wrote it. Thanks for sharing :D

Ziane 7 years ago

Et sinon !! y avait-il du fromage de chevre ??? parce-que là je ne vois que des vaches... ;-)

Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France Author

Cris A : thanks to you for taking the time to read it. To be honest I was over the moon with the experience, even the day after, I was so excited and happy about it that I couldn't believe it.

Ziane: pas de fromage de chevre, memme pas de chevres! mais les veaux sont aussi mignon que le fromage ne me pas manque :) Mais je accept ton invitation pour le vin et le Roquefort -je ne peux pas resister la tentation!

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

What a great story, and sweetly told! You had a wonderful experience. I would have gone to see the cow being born too. You can go clubbing any night, but this was such a special opportunity, and you took full advantage of it. Thanks you, Princessa, for sharing this lovely story!

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Ooooh Princessa, I'm getting teary eyed reading your story. I feel so much the love and wonder that you had in witnessing something as beautiful as the gift of life coming to being. Simply amazing! :-) I had to smile when you said you don't how it happened and you all went with your friend instead of clubbing. Funny how life takes us to where we are supposed to be. May your new year be full in celebration of the miracle of life.

prasadjain profile image

prasadjain 7 years ago from Tumkur

Good descreption. i have many such experiences in my boyhood days when I was in my soth Indian village home.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York

A lifetime experience! I 've always lived in a city. Never got a chance to be in close proximity with animals. You're lucky to have witnessed it.

Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France Author

Christoph: serendipity?

ripplemaker : Life takes us where we are supposed to be? Never really thought about that, but now that you mention it, I think you are right and that is how sometimes we end up in the weirdest places. Thanks for the comment.

prasadjain: You were a lucky boy, most of us never get to see such marvels.

anjalichugh : Yes, I am very lucky. Me too, I am a city girl and this is the first time I come to experience something like this.

Isabella Snow profile image

Isabella Snow 7 years ago

When you first published this, the comments were turned off so I couldn't comment. I think it's adorable, Happy Birthday to the little moo-cow!

Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France Author

Hi Isabella, I was still too excited when I published this :)

I have been bak to see the baby, I call her Luna. She is adorable, her hair so white and soft and the sweetest eyes you can imagine!

Just_Rodney profile image

Just_Rodney 7 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

The every day miracles of life,

These unseen joys

Oft unseen

By but a blessed few

Part of this





Birth, the miracle

The New Begining

Our Circle of Existance.

As you say you were changed by what you saw and experienced.

Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France Author

Lovely words Just_Rodney , thanks for such a thoughful message.

Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

very nice story

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Princessa: Yes, you could call that serendipity. Since you were with the person who would get the call (otherwise, you would not have known about it) and then went with him to see what turned into a great thing (you had a wonderful experience, you wrote a hub about it, etc.), it was serendipitous that you were with this person at just the right time.

You are putting out articles faster than I can read them! I have some catching up to do!

Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France Author

Lgali: thanks for stopping to comment.

Christoph: I love that world "serendipitous" but I'll need to go to élocution classes to be able to say it :)

I have been going out less lately and spending more time in "having fun in bed", that is why I am writing much more :)

ahpoetic profile image

ahpoetic 7 years ago

New born life is a miracle of God. I've been supernaturally healed by God many times, my liver, of vomiting 4 times a day to 1, my head of pressure, of shortness of breath, of a cold. God does real miracles that millions are experiencing these days. Noah's Ark was found on Mt. Ararat in 1840 and is still there. You can know God through the Lord Jesus Christ and know real supernatural miracles now.

Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France Author

ahpoetic : We do not see around us, we don't have the time to stop and appreciate how wonderful life is. But when time stops and we are caught in it we see all the wonderful things around us and something as meaningless as the birth of an animal becomes a miracle!

JWestCattle profile image

JWestCattle 6 years ago from Texas

A really great story, you captured what it's like to be there, to help, to get wrapped up and forget everything else but that miracle of life.

Princessa profile image

Princessa 5 years ago from France Author

JWestCattle: It was a magic moment

heather 4 years ago

c est bella?

MarieAlice profile image

MarieAlice 4 years ago from Peru

What a great experience !!!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful moment with us...

Princessa profile image

Princessa 4 years ago from France Author

Hi Heather: No, that was Luna. Bella was born later.

MarieAlice: Yes, it was a fantastic experience and even now that I have seen the miracle of life several times, it is always magic to see how a new being is born.

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    Wendy Iturrizaga (Princessa)2,903 Followers
    207 Articles

    Wendy went to France for the first time on 1999 and loved it so much that she moved there in 2005. Today she lives in the French countryside

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