Posted by: brigid benson | November 4, 2010

Little Black Bull

Life is full of surprises and I was privileged this morning to witness the birth of a little black Limousin bull at my friends’ farm.

Farmer Les announced the imminent arrival and, with barely time to pull on a pair of the communal wellies used by visitors to the farm, I dashed across the yard to see the seven year old mother lowing and turning her head repeatedly towards her rear end from where a largeish pair of hoofs protruded. Les and his wife Ann explained that her gentle mooing was to reassure the calf as its birth progressed.

Assessing that this was going to be a big baby, Les decided to give assistance. The mother patiently accepted his intervention and support to bring her offspring into the world.

After 9 months in the womb, out slid a sleek black bundle swaddled in membranes that mum gobbled quickly – an instinctive reaction which harks back to times when wild beasts swiftly ate all traces of the birth to prevent predators discovering their offspring. Having devoured the evidence, the mother often raced from the scene with the newborn to find shelter elsewhere.

As mum and son bonded with licks, my friends explained that the little black bull will stay on the farm for two and a half years before being sold for beef. Mum will most likely have another calf next year.

Emergence of the calf

Mum licks calf to prompt breathing

Having eaten the birth sack, mum begins to clean and bond with her calf

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