1. What kind of cow is Delight?
Delight is a Scottish Belted Galloway, a breed bred for beef. Its distinctive belted marking, compact, sturdy build and pleasant personality have made it a strong favorite in recent years in the US. They are easy to handle, and very hardy. They enjoy all kinds of weather and are not at all fussy where food, temperature, or companions are concerned - pretty happy campers all the way around! Delight was orphaned as a newborn and raised by her owners as a bottle baby in their garage, and later, in their barn with other Belties. She has always retained that people-friendly, cuddly disposition that probably stems from her close start in life with human companions before cow companions.
2. Has Delight had a baby before?
Delight calved on March 18, 2003. This is her fifth calf, another bull calf named Nabisco. She already had two bull calves named Googly Moogly and Jiggle The Handle, and a heifer calf named Holy Moly. Last year Delight delivered a heifer calf, though the calf apparently had a birth defect and did not survive more than a few days. That was very sad; Delight is a very good mom and easy to be around. She takes great care of her babies.
3. How long is a cow pregnant?
A cow's gestation is nine and a half months, so just a little longer than a human. Just like with our horses, we hope to be in attendance when the calf is born to make sure everything is okay and to witness the calf's first steps and make sure it is drinking vigorously. Drinking colostrum - the first mother's milk - is the best way to provide important antibodies to the calf from its mother and ward off infection and illness that could injure or kill it in the first few weeks of life. Delight is very big and heavy right now, and we expect that she will deliver on time. A week either way of her due date is certainly "right on time".
4. Will we be able to see the calf being born?
We'll do our best to have Delight's calf born on the BarnCam. It's a little more difficult than with our horses, as Delight has a large pasture with her own cozy shelter that she calls home. She is never in the barn except for veterinary visits. But we will move her to the foaling barn and put her in the big stall on BarnCam a day or two before the delivery - that is, if we can catch it at the right time! And we will not leave Delight in the barn if she seems stressed or upset in any way. If we don't catch the birth on BarnCam or if Delight prefers to be out in her pasture, then we will place a camera in her shelter (the old farm smokehouse in a grove of trees) where we will care for her and her baby and they will most likely spend their nights. A pasture with fresh air and no corners is truly the cleanest, most natural place for a calf to be born. We already know that Delight will take very good care of her baby.
5. What did you name the calf?
Well, in the Scottish Belted Galloway breed, the convention calls for a name to be alphabetical based on the year an animal was born. This year, it is "N". So the baby bull was named "Nabisco".