While people like to have concrete answers and assign very specific numbers, Nature generally has other ideas. Don’t get me wrong, we can count out the days and get close enough to establish some useful management practices like knowing when to dry off each cow and when to start watching the cow extra close but we never know for sure exactly when that magical event is going to happen.
Which, if the last week and a half is any example, this can really get people worked up! As some of you know, we are expecting a new baby calf any day now! Abby, our faithful milk cow is due with her 3rd calf. Which will be the second calf born at Brun Ko Farm. Now, this is obviously very exciting for us, but it is also exciting for our friends and family that have enjoyed visiting Abby and/or have been regaled by all the stories relating to her and her co-horts here at Brun Ko. For a week or so we have received a handful of inquiries of ‘No baby yet?’ each day. And a couple of times I’ve heard, ‘Are you SURE she’s going to have a calf?’
Which to be fair and to my chagrin, I had a lesson in months vs days and relying on computers vs counting on calendars. After we confirmed that 26147, affectionately known as Abby, was pregnant, I simply went back to the breeding date and counted ahead 9 months. At the time, this was a close enough estimation to give us the information we needed.
At the time.
But a month is not simply a month. Some months have 30 days and some have 31. And February only had 28 days this year. So, long story short, I never went back and actually counted out 280 days. And I was off by 6 days. I had her due date on the calendar as last Sunday, October 18. However, when you count out the days (as I should have done in the first place) she was actually due yesterday, Saturday, October 24. So everybody, ourselves included, have been anxious for a whole extra week!
Because that is how due dates work. Nobody gets too shook up if a calf (or baby) arrives a few days early but as soon as that due date hits … Oh boy do we all get worked up! NP and I included. We've been checking on Abby every 3 or 4 hours for 2 weeks!
So while due dates are nice and even useful to a point, they can’t be lived by. I have worked with plenty of cows in the past on other farms that have given birth to healthy, fully developed calves up to 2 weeks before or after their expected due date!
Brun Ko Farm