We may have been duped. Actually, that's not true. The real story is that Paul and I have been operating under the assumption that Sheila was bred back during Tabor's visit...and we may be wrong.
Most breeds of cattle, Scottish Highland included, have an average gestation of 283 days plus or minus 10. There are many versions of cattle gestation calculators out on the Internet to help breeders determine when a cow might calve. Based on Tabor's 16-week long visit last year, Sheila, if bred, could have calved as early as November 16, 2009 and as late as, with the plus 10 factored in, yesterday. Now, if Tabor didn't breed her for whatever reason, Umberto could have done the job a few months later. Her due date then would be the same window as Bridgit's, April 8-May 16.
The thing is, she's showing no imminent signs of calving. Her udder started to swell a couple of months ago, and with daily checking, I've been able to compare changes one day to the next. She's changed very little the past month or so. Other signs of imminent calving include loosening of the ligaments around the pin bones as the pelvis widens to prepare for birth, and the change in a cow's mid-section shape from "round" to "slab-sided" (when viewed from behind) as the calf inside turns toward the birth canal. Sheila has shown neither of these changes.
Moreover, the "mucus threads," or vaginal mucus "strings" (like we're sewing or something here?!) that one would see haven't been present. The latter was really stressing me out...she had some mucus about a month ago, quite a bit in fact, but has had none again until two days ago...and that mucus was thick and blood-tinged...which makes us wonder if in fact she's actually been in heat and ovulated. That would be a real bummer.
Our fabulous vet is visiting next Wednesday morning to put a ring in T-Bone's nose (he's been sold and is moving to Bellingham to hopefully make some babies!), vaccinate Natalie, and pregnancy check both Sheila and Bridgit (who looks pregnant, but again, we're going off of assumptions, mostly).
The lesson learned here (and watch, Sheila will probably pop out a gorgeous calf this weekend specifically because I've shared my thoughts in this blog post!) is that assuming makes an as*...er...assuming makes it very difficult to know whether you can expect a calf or not. In this case, we're hoping, hoping, hoping that if she wasn't bred by Tabor, she was by Umberto, meaning we'd have a second calf in April/May AND owe our friends, The Bates', another bull rental fee! There could be worse things...like no calf at all.