Friday, 1 April 2011

Mother Love?

This Sunday is Mothering Sunday so I thought a story about a mother's love would be a good start to your week-end.

We are great friends with the farmer who lives opposite us and in the Summer when we share jobs like haymaking and silaging we see a lot of each other. But in the Winter months we rarely see Geoffrey as the farm house is three fields away from our lane. The only time he and the farmer meet is when they both arrive at the paper shop to collect the morning newspaper at the same time.

Thus it was yesterday that they met in the lay by outside the shop and had a chat. And this is the story we heard:-

Geoffrey does not have a milking herd, he has a suckler herd. For anyone who doesn't know, this is a herd of cows who have calves and keep them 'at foot' until they are teenagers when they are sold on - either for breeding or for beef. In the Winter this herd is kept indoors and it is during this period that many of them calve.

A couple of months ago a cow calved twins, both nice big calves and healthy. A couple of hours later, when Geoffrey went to look at her one of the calves was missing; it had been 'stolen' by another cow and taken to the far side of the shed where she was suckling it contentedly. Geoffrey removed it and took it back to its mother, but each time he did this the cow stole the calf again until finally its real mother refused to have it back. So the cow kept its adopted calf and everything settled back to normal.

Last week this cow also calved a lovely, healthy little calf. So now she has two calves - one a biggish, gangly thing almost three months old and one new-born. She seems happy to suckle both - one either side, and the original mother seems to have forgotten all about it.

This extra-strong maternal instinct seems particularly strong in cows. I have mentioned before how our cow - number 55 - always stole any newborn calf born out in the field. And a friend told me this morning of a white cow she knew some years ago who was always around at a birth and would slope off with the new calf given half a chance.

13 comments:

Titus said...

That's something I didn't know Weaver. Fascinating insight, and great stories.

I'd have happily given mine away at any point over the first twelve months!

Heather said...

We must be doing synchronized blogging Pat - I have just posted too. That's an amazing story - I had no idea that cows did that. We used to live quite near a farm and could hear cows calling for their calves when they had been taken away. They sounded really distressed and as I had a new baby myself I felt quite sympathetic!

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

Great story Weaver, I never fail to be educated when I read your excellent blog.
XX

Elizabeth said...

A splendid story!
Once we had two springer spaniels.
The younger one had planned spaniel pupppies....
not to be outdone, her old mum, in the interim, went out and met a black lab called Hector......
Mother and daughter had puppies the same day.
Vet though older one should only keep two pups
elder dog disagreed and 'adopted' two of daughter's pups.....

I knew a country woman who had to give her son up for adoption......she used to weep buckets whenever she heard the cows crying for their calves......

after that, have a super weekend!

Gerry Snape said...

What an amazing thing in animals !It makes you wonder about some humans though when you read awful stories in the newspaper.

angryparsnip said...

What a wonderful story today. So charming and funny too !

Have a lovely weekend.

cheers, parsnip

mrsnesbitt said...

fascinating Pat.

mansuetude said...

Thank you. We all enjoyed this lovely story tonight.

Pondside said...

Who knew? ....such a strong instinct.
It's a sweet story.

Pondside said...

Who knew? ....such a strong instinct.
It's a sweet story.

John Gray said...

its like reading readersdigest!
lol
great post

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for your comments.

Bernie said...

Enjoyed this story of the cow adopting another cow's calf. New information for me and a delightful story. Also enjoyed your post about your mother on mother's day. Interesting. I too came along when my mom was 45 and unexpected as well. My mom came over from Sweden when she was 18 and worked as a cook until she married my dad. She also worked as a child in Sweden for people. She died when I was 23 and I wish I had found out more about her early life. At that age, I guess I was more interested in my own.