... a calf is born! A heifer, born to #75 (whose Herd Book name escapes me at the time of writing, but it's either Delyth or Ceinwen). Completely out of season - all her cousins or half-siblings were born May-July 2012, but the mother hadn't come into season like the others and the vet had had to kick-start her hormones with an injection back in January 2012. But - despite the cold, wet, windy and snowy weather over the last few weeks, the mother ended up pregnant to Norman and eventually picked a nice sunny day and a sheltered corner of the field earlier this week to deliver a decent-sized calf - here she is with her new-born:

But later on that evening, when the snow and rain started, she didn't seem to appreciate us moving her calf into the shelter of the cattle pen, refusing to go in herself and charging around in the dark trying to find her where she had left her. But with gritted teeth and patience, we finally got her to realise that the thing we were carrying was in fact the calf she had just delivered, and she calmly followed Fergus into the pen to join the new-born. I must do some research into whether cows can see in the dark, because she clearly had difficulty figuring out what we were holding in front of her.

Also alongside her in the maternity/hospital ward is Snowflake and her calf from last summer (the one who initially failed to thrive but who since has gone on to grow normally although way behind her peers in size). Snowflake was limping for a couple of weeks, and in the end, the vet had to be called. After the risky business of catching her, securing her in the crush, and then lifting up her feet with ropes, the diagnosis came in that she has a crack in her hoof, which gives her pain akin to a nasty in-growing toenail on us humans. Treatment? Keep her penned up and replace the poultice on her hoof every couple of days.... Easier said than done!

To finish off, here's a couple of pictures from the snows of last month. If you look carefully, note how shaggy the calves have got in their winter coats! You can really see the resemblence to their genetically closest cousins, Highland Cattle.