Monday, September 20, 2010

Mums the word

Geezus!! getting two minutes to write anything at the moment is a huge mission. Over the weekend i picked up 8 calves to raise, and 8 goslings hatched. The farm is filled with baby animals..Except for baby horses no luck yet with the grey girl giving birth. hopefully soon though. I'm flat out, it feels like i never stop working. its feeding calves, or rounding up geese, feeding out horses, riding horses, giving riding lessons it never stops. But what i wanted to talk about today is mothers.

Some mothers will mother anything, and that mothering instinct seems to cross all species and racial boundaries. We hear and see those feel good stories on the news, about a cat adopting a stray rabbit kit or the like. Every so often on the farm you will also get those moments that make u got 'owwww', and you get that warm feeling and think the world is actually a pretty kind was one of those days.

My poor little bobby calves had a 6 hour journey to get here, while most seemed to arrive in good shape there was one or two that are a little worse for wear, and have a case of scours (smelly, squirty runny poos). To the horses horror, all the calves are staying indoors in the stable until they're a bit stronger. the wild stallion and Milo have had to give up there stables at night and are not impressed at all. The grey still has her stable. Horses are generally not to fond of calves on first meeting. Most of my lovely warm bloods and domestic horses had a tantrum and either tried to avoid going in the barn or whirled and spun around in their stables and behaved like their was a lion in the next stall. All except the broodmares including the grey. to them, it seemed to be yet another smelly, loud and bothersome baby animal, not much different than a baby horse. They unlike the other horses seemed to realise it was just a harmless group of crying babies.

I have seen my bad tempered and huge broodmare stand quietly while a (human) baby was allowed to pull and poke at her nose and wave its hands in her face. Any adult she would have stormed off. Another mare has tolerated puppies and kittens constantly running between her legs, yet killed an adult dog with a single kick. There is something about babies of any sort that bring out a calm and nurturing side in all mothers it would seem. My own mother sat on the stable floor,cuddling and rubbing, stinky, shitty calves to perk them up while they were down with scours. This nurturing nature that all mother animals seem to have never ceases to amaze me.

as i was moving some calves around today, one of the sickly ones managed to to totter, swaying and staggering out of its stable. to where a couple of the horse were tied up. weaving, weakly from side to side it made about 2 metres before it lost balance, fell sideways, leaned against the horses leg for a second, and then promptly ended up on the ground underneath it's belly. i was in the piranha pit of healthy calves and couldn't move in time to go to its rescue, thinking it was about to be trampled under the horse. But no, instead of doing anything stupid for once the broodmare just looked around, heaved a big sigh as if to say 'what are you doing down there silly baby?' and then set about licking the calf clean, as if it were her own baby.

The grey mare from the wild, also gave a good display of inter species mothering. even though I'm fairly sure she's never seen calves before in her life. After pausing for a little sniff of the barn when she first walked in, she then happily marched into her stable right next to the calves. No bother and no silliness like the domestic horses. Then there she was, as soon as she finished her dinner, head hanging over the wall sniffing noses with all the bobby calves. who obviously though she looked quite a lot like mother cow. Now every morning when i get to the barn with my buckets of milk, theirs Grey standing, with her head over the calf pen, and 8 little calves curled up asleep in the sawdust against the stable wall and under her nose, as close as they can get to her.

While it might not be as amazing as some of the stories you see on TV, every morning it puts a smile on my face to see the horse from the wild babysitting the 8 motherless calves from the dairy farm.