The Circle of Life with the Real Farmwives of America

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. And if you are anything like me the song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, sorry…! This was one of my favorite movies growing up!!  ♫ ♫ “It’s the circle of life, and it moves us all…” ♫ ♫ Okay, I will stop singing now… :)

Well this Real Farmwives of America post theme is the “Circle of Life”. I bet you already figured that out! The farm is a place where the circle of life is seen on a regular basis. Obviously death is a part of life but I am going to focus on my favorite part of living on a dairy farm, new life.

I am a sucker for baby calves. Those of you that have been around our site might have noticed!

Isn’t she so cute!

I try not to pick favorites but you all know Polly is # 1. Yet, there is another calf that has stole my heart big time. I think her story is perfect to tell for this post. So, here goes.

A couple months ago my husband and I went out on the town with some friends; hair done up, fancy clothes and heels kind of dancing the night away Friday night. We are in charge of feeding the calves on Saturday mornings. So, as we were headed home I mentioned that we should go and see if there were any calves born or that looked close, therefore, we would know what time we needed to get up.

There are a lot of steps we go through in post delivery care with new baby calves and their moms and I wanted to make sure we got to the farm in time to finish all the new-born work before it was time to feed the rest of the baby calves. Hubby agreed. He jumped out of the truck and went to peek in to the maternity barn.

All of a sudden he takes off running. It is never a good sign when you see someone running on the farm. I followed as quickly as I could humanly manage in my heels. When I found him in the barn he was kneeled down next to a cow that was in the midst of giving birth. With just a look I knew something was wrong. The birth wasn’t progressing. Hubby made sure the calf was alive by “bothering” (for lack of a better word) it so it would move. Once we realized it was still alive we knew we had limited time for a happy ending.

I went and grabbed our labor assistant tool which is only used on tough deliveries (the cow equivalent to forceps or vacuum extraction in human deliveries) and hubby moved the cow to a pen by herself. We could see by the size of the hooves that this was a very big calf but the good news was that it was coming out in the right direction the cow just needed some help. Hubby hooked up the tool, which basically just helps us get leverage as we pull on the calf to help the cow with the birth. I knew this birth was taking longer than it normally would. At this point it should take less than a minute. It had been about 5 minutes of working with the rhythm of the cow, when she pushed we pulled, when she wanted to rest I told her to push just like you would your sister or best friend. We finally started making progress the neck and shoulders were out. I could tell by my hubby’s shaking arms that he was trying with all his might. I now was encouraging both the cow and my hubby.

Over half of the calf was out and it seemed like the body just kept coming and coming. It was an almost all white calf. The cow is mooing and pushing with all her might and at this point hubby and I are both working on our end to get this calf out. Then in the blink of an eye the calf was out. We dropped the tool and switched focus to the calf, it wasn’t breathing.

We removed the gunk from the nose and used a piece of straw to tickle the nose in hopes of getting the calf to take a breath. The calf inhaled and exhaled and then nothing. I continue tickling the nose and hubby starts rubbing the side of the calf. Once again we see the chest rise and fall and then nothing and then rise and fall and then I hear my husband in a tone that I hadn’t yet heard, “COME ON and BREATHE”

Honestly, at this point my heart is breaking. It wasn’t looking good. I hadn’t ever experienced a labor this tough. I had never heard that tone in my new husbands voice, one of fear, sadness and forcefulness all at the same time. I noticed the calf was a girl, a heifer, the future of our herd our farm and our livelihoods.

Then without saying anything my hubby gets up, walks away from the calf, and switches his attention to the cow. The calf was breathing at this point but it wasn’t as strong as it should be. I sat with the calf while hubby encouraged the cow to come lick the calf. She wasn’t interested in her calf at all but luckily just beyond the gate there was a cow that had watched it all, a very maternal cow. So, after hubby milked the new mom cow we let her out of the pen and back in to the barn. Believe it or not she went out of the barn and started eating. Then hubby let the other cow in to the pen. At this point I realized I was sitting in straw, afterbirth and probably some poo. I sat and watched the cow roughly lick the calf and nudge her to get up.

We knew at this point she would be fine. We fed the calf colostrum (mother’s first milk) and finished up the rest of our work. At this point it was about 2:00 a.m. My hubby and I looked at each other and giggled. My new “going out” clothes, his North Face and my heels were covered in muck. Without saying anything I grab a trash bag and we undress and put the clothes in the bag. We drive home (nice thing about living in the country we didn’t have any neighbors to notice). We started washing the clothes and laid down for a nap.
I’m not sure either one of us slept because we were both up and ready to go to the farm before the alarm went off. We checked on our baby she was up and walking, well really prancing around. So cute!

I’m sure you want to see some pictures!!

This is when she was a week old. I tried to get them to stand side-by-side so you could see the size comparison.

Look at that cute face!

You can check out our other Real Farmwives posts here:

How Did I Get Here?
New Years Day
 You can also visit the Real Farmwives Facebook page and see what the other gals are up to!



About Liz

I’m a dairy cattle showing, wine loving, cake baking, wife and mommy navigating the world of friend’s bridal and baby showers while living & loving life on the farm.


  1. WOW! A suspenseful,beautiful, circle of life reality on the farm, Liz. I loved reading it and thanks for taking time to write it all out. It’s so important to tell our stories!

  2. I was on the edge of my seat reading that! Very well written and I agree it’s so important to remind those of us on the outside that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows over the back forty. That y’all work HARD.

  3. LOVE this post! From the video to the story. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Love your story! And yes it is all hard work indeed!

    Glad baby and mommy are doing fine!


  5. Holy cow….umm I mean calf;0) That is a big calf. Loved the story!

  6. im sooo glad it all turned out okay! calving is such a wonderful, stressful time.

  7. Baby calves are my favorite also:) And you just can’t help getting attached to some more than others sometimes. I’m happy both mom and calf are doing fine.

  8. That is one lucky calf n cow to have your help in the birth. It could have ended up a very sad story. she is a big one for sure!

  9. Oooo my goodness… what an amazin story!!! That lil calf was lucky to have you all there in time, it was meant to be.

  10. She IS a big calf! I remember such an experience, minus the nice clothes, when Tall Guy still milked. It is an andrenaline-pumping experience for sure! Glad all ended well for both momma and baby!

  11. I’m with Katie, WOW!!! What a great story of the circle of life and an amazing story to tell your own children someday. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Love to hear happy stories. We have been there many times I wish all Mom’s would accept their calves. Sometimes I think it might be the pain
    Thanks for sharing

  13. Beautiful story and a beautiful calf.

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