Sunday, January 07, 2007

It's a girl! It's a boy!

Our cow delivered this week and we have twins! A boy and a girl. Well, she isn't our cow, and they aren't our twins. But we feel like godparents, at least, because they live right next door.

Lily got to name the boy calf. It's Boq, after the munchkin in Wicked. These twins are in the B line of names -- Boq's sister is Bloom and their mother is Belize. They have other relatives named Boston and Brighton and Bismark and Beyonce. Cow-naming is very complicated, apparently, if you are going to register your cow. You are required to have certain prefixes and identifying letter-codes, so there's not much room for the actual name. Boq, if it sticks, is great because it's just three letters.

These twins are lucky to be born to these particular owners. I forget the technical term, but when cows have twins the male hormone is dominant and almost always, 87 percent of the time, makes the female twin infertile. No one wants to bother taking the chance of raising an almost certainly infertile female. And no one wants bulls much, anyway, although this little guy is pedigreed, so if he lives he'll be a stud bull. Our neighbor has spent the last four days nursing these two baby cows to life, rather than selling them -- again, there was another technical term I can't remember. But the basically they're lunch.

So these two babies came home this afternoon tucked inside feedsacks and riding in the cab of the pick-up. We spent about two hours visiting with them, and when I first got there they had been fed an hour earlier -- they drink cow's milk from oversized babybottles -- and they were still in their sacks, each with a head on the lap of a girl, being stroked and cuddled.

The bull is particularly frail and scrawny. Why is he walking en pointe? Lily's friend asked her dad. In fact, that's just what he looked like, walking around on tiptoe on his hooves. It seems his feet were bent under him while he was still inside and when he first came out he was walking around on his knuckles. Walking on his tiptoes is progress.

Lily has been invited to halter-train Boq and she walked him around awhile this afternoon, or rather he walked her around and she periodically hollered for help. He is about as big as she is, and for a runty calf he's still mighty headstrong. The girls finally got them to lie down and snooze in the hay outside the barn where they will be sleeping. They were all curled up, looking like puppies.

We did not have calves in Brooklyn. We felt we were special because our next-door-neighbors had bullfrogs, which would thrill us every April by announcing that spring had arrived. Calves are something else, indeed. I thanked our neighbors profusely, said it was awfully kind of them to have twins so that Lily could have one, too. They didn't even know they were having twins until after the first one had been delivered. I guess no one does ultrasound on a cow, even a pedigreed one.

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