September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

Pixie and Dottie

By Susan Steinke- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

After our herd check back in August, I pointed out to Kurt that Pixie and Dottie, two of our heifers, were both pregnant.
"Of course they are," he said. "They do everything together."
It's true. Pixie and Dottie are two peas in a pod. They were born within five days of each other in October 2011. As calves, they stood next to each other in the barn. They shared a hay feeder and would suck on each other after guzzling their milk.
They were always in the pasture together. Dottie was easy to spot because she has an almost all-white head. Find Dottie and you'd find Pixie nearby. If you noticed one of them walking down the lane to the water tank, looking back you'd discover the other a few steps behind.
Once old enough, they came into heat at the same time and reentered the barn as adults for the first time together. Kurt bred them on the same day, and now they were both expecting their first calf by the same bull.
I looked for empty stalls in our barn to see where we could place them and noticed that we didn't have two next to each other.
"We're going to have to move some cows around," I said to Kurt. "Pixie and Dottie will give more milk if they are standing together."
Their due date was March 17, and I thought it would be pretty neat if they calved at the same time.
It didn't happen that way, though.
Kurt and I were in our car driving somewhere on March 8 when he casually mentioned to me that Dottie had calved.
"Already? Is she OK? Is her calf OK? Did Pixie have hers?"
His answer was yes, yes, yes, and no.
"Well, we'd better keep an eye on Pixie. If Dottie has calved, Pixie will probably be close behind," I said.
The next day, Lily decided she wanted to see the new calf. Dottie had calved in the pole shed, and Kurt hadn't brought her calf inside yet, so we headed out into the cow yard.
We admired the calf from a distance since Dottie was standing guard over her newborn. Then we sought out Pixie to see if she was near freshening. We found her standing outside in the cornstalks Kurt had spread out for the cows to lounge on.
Colostrum dripped from her udder and there was blood on her tail. Examining the cornstalks, I found clear evidence that she had calved.
"Pixie had her calf!" I excitedly said. Glancing around, we didn't see it. Pixie was nosing at the cornstalks and lowing softly. Had she forgotten where it was?
Lily and I set out on a mission to find Pixie's calf-an urgent mission because the snow and cold would be dangerous for a newborn calf. We looked in the pole shed, but only Dottie and her calf were in there. We looked by the feed bunk; we checked the maternity shed. I was so confused. Maybe Kurt had brought in Dottie's calf after all and the one in the pole shed was Pixie's. Lily and I headed into the barn to inform Kurt that Pixie had calved but her calf was M.I.A.
We were walking down one side of the barn when I noticed something black lying in the manger. And not moving. I gasped because the sight was so unexpected. Lily burst into tears. Our mission had ended.
These things happen sometimes, and I tried to explain that to Lily, but even my heart broke a little. I had been planning on writing a column about Pixie and Dottie ever since I found out they were both pregnant. I had hoped it would end happily with them calving the same day with sweet little heifer calves that looked just alike. It just wasn't meant to be.
I returned to the cow yard, worried about a distraught Pixie. She was right where she should be, though - curled up in the pole shed with Dottie and her little one. Even if the ending wasn't happy, at least they still had each other.[[In-content Ad]]


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