Folks outside the wonderful world of calvin’ season probably have some peculiar ideas about what happens. Maybe they think a heifer calves like chickens lay eggs; nice and clean, no muss, no fuss. Others might picture a sterile operating room with attendants gathered around in masks and rubber gloves saying things like “Push!” and “Nurse, wipe my brow and clamp the cord!”
A neat, tidy procedure done in antiseptic surroundings, not unlike the manufacturing of venison sausage.
Neat is not the word I think of when assisting at a calving. But instead, insulated coveralls come to mind. As well as mud boots, chapped hands, rope burns, slippery chains, wet knees, sweating at 10 degrees above zero and midnight. In fact, calving involves a whole lot more than simply inserting a coin, punching a button and watching a can of Diet Coke be born with a thunk!
There’s that business-like confidence that guides you when you check the heifer pen before turning in. You see one that’s still trying. You can’t leave her in that condition all night so you get’er up and slog her into the trap or calvin’ shed. While you’re gatherin’ up the O.B. chains and pullin’ off your jacket, a wave of nervous worry washes over you and settles into your gut.