Mother Cow's Love For Her Newborn Baby Will Warm Your Heart
As humans, we tend to think of ourselves as being the only species with complex emotions and complex intellect. But evidence to the contrary is all around us. We can’t ignore the way animals respond to their babies, or to the other animals in their social group. Occasionally, we even see animals showing kindness to another species. If we can see this happening and we admit that animals are capable or surprising intellect and emotional capacity, it should change the way we view them, and the way we view our treatment of them. Cows are a perfect example of this ability to feel emotions.
Bernice is a loving mother, right from the moment her baby was born. She lives on a beautiful farm in Millbrook, Ontario. She wanders freely over lush, green pastures with rolling hills and clean ponds. It’s a farm where life is as close as it can be to what nature intended for these gentle creatures. Bernice and her herd are free range cows and they are living the good life. They graze and snooze in the sunshine as they please. There is a bull here named Gus, a giant and gentle animal with a very friendly disposition, but he watches over the herd protectively.
Bernice has chosen a warm spring day to give birth, and she picked a spot close to the fence. Her baby arrived smoothly and she got to her feet. The moments that followed were captured on video. Bernice stood patiently over her newborn calf, now only a few minutes old. He is still wet and his umbilical cord is very fresh. His first wobbly steps show that he has not found his balance yet. Bernice licks her calf and gives him soft grunts and moos of encouragement as he tries to stand and walk. Adorably, he sways and staggers as he searches for her udder and his first drink of milk. Bernice watches the meadow vigilantly, and she moves slowly in order to place her hind quarters where her baby can find them. The calf leans on Bernice affectionately and manages to stay on his feet. He is slow and unsure, but eventually he finds what he is looking for and he begins to nurse.
Cows are very motherly and fiercely protective. Their love for their newborns is obvious from the start and they are careful to keep other animals, and even humans away from them. In the moments after this youngster got to his feet, another mother in the herd came over to sniff Bernice’s baby. Bernice allowed this and it seems she got the approval before the cow wandered away. Cows will lick their calves, as Bernice did, to promote bonding and also to clean the calf. Instinctively, mothers know that to leave the smell of placenta and blood on the calf will attract predators. Their first few days will be a challenge as the calf gains strength and coordination. Wild animals such as coyotes will be very aware that there is a tiny and vulnerable calf in the pasture. The cows in the herd help each other by surrounding newborns as they rest. And Gus, the protective bull will not tolerate anything that threatens his herd.