Friday, February 19, 2010


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* 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 no calf at all.


  1. Well I hope you get your calf. We had the same thing with a goat last spring. We knew when she was bred and watched the calendar come and go. After five days late, we stopped watching. She birthed a nice nine pound doe on the front lawn (they were mowing) on Sunday morning.

    We're going through the same thing with the same goat again...Makes it interesting!

  2. did you ever seen anything between sheila and either bull? i had a similar thing happen with tia. tara, my cow-slut, was crazy-middle-of-the-day obvious on the same exact date as last year, but with tia, i never saw anything, so i got her checked at the fair and the vet said nope, she wasn't pregnant, apparently had a follicle that hadn't ruptured? anyways, i got our vet to give her a shot and took her back to visit sheridan for a week, and definitely saw action that time. so, hopefully you get your calf soon! (and hopefully tara has hers in 3 weeks because i didn't have her checked either--she has started softening around the butt a bit, and is wide-wide-wide...)

  3. Deere, I love that your "lawn mower" kidded in the front yard! Perhaps a watched doe never kids...I'll try and stop watching Sheila like a hawk, too. Maybe she just wants a little privacy, LOL!

    Bonnie, we had Bridgit checked last summer for a retained follicle since she didn't breed back to Tabor, and she was fine...she was just under-conditioned (another lesson learned about heifers calving). We never saw "that" action with either cow, but definitely a lot of lovey-dovey-ness with both bulls AND both cows. We will likely not ever go without having our cows preg checked again. I hope you have a calf in 3 weeks, too!!


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