Last night Aunty Del gave birth to twins. But one was born dead.

I knew she was close, so I brought her into the barn and settled her. Then left to do some work and give her some time to relax – came back out not even an hour later and there was one little black heifer up already and one dead on the ground. He had not even moved from where birth had left him. He must have been born dead.

I was so angry. If only I had come back out a little earlier. And yes, I know that is a stupid thing to say. But. It was all very fast so there cannot have been any stress. He was perfect. But dead. I could not revive him.

Dead is dead – there is no coming back from it. No matter how one tries.


He was a good size, as is the little heifer. She was up and walking about and drinking by the time I left them.


I am so angry. So disappointed. Sad.


We had a lot of successes this season though – we must not forget that. And Aunty is happy with her baby.

But to lose a twin seems so awful somehow.

Later in the night, the calf was still a bit shivery so I put the little calf cover on her. I keep it (and the larger one) hanging on a hook in the barn so they always smells barny and not freshly washed.  It was cold enough for me to see my breath and it does not hurt to keep baby a little warmer.   I watched for a while and Del did not mind, she was licking babies head when I left them again.


WEATHER: Rain is coming. Fitting. 

Saturday 11/04 70% / 0.14 in
Light rain early…then remaining cloudy with showers in the afternoon. Thunder possible. High around 55F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 70%.

Saturday Night 11/04 60% / 0.06 in
Scattered thunderstorms developing overnight. Low around 50F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 60%.

7:27 am 5:44 pm
Full, 99% visible 6:35 pm 7:39 am






68 Comments on “SO ANGRY

  1. That’s sad, but maybe it was dead before it was born and nature took it’s course. Don’t blame yourself, you can’t be everywhere. Well done Auntie Del!
    Those little pigs look bigger than ever – they seem very happy out foraging with Molly.

  2. So sorry about the little twin. Most likely there is nothing you could have done, but we always kick ourselves when things like this happen. I am glad Mama and baby heifer are doing well.

  3. Oh my poor dear awful! I feel sad for you but as you say dead is dead and not even you can bring him back to the living. It is very sad but I am sure that God had his reason , even though it is so hard for us humans to understand…You do so much for your animals , night and day , so to have this happen at the moment when you are not there is heart breaking and I am sure you feel that you have let Aunty Del down  …but that is not so….things happen for a reason… SO! Chin up, brush down and start all over again

    lots of love  from me xxxxx


    Sent: Saturday, November 04, 2017 at 12:56 PM

  4. And the other sad fact is that this little heifer is a freemartin which is a term used to describe a heifer who has a male twin. And as such she will never conceive due to the sharing of a placenta with a male. So very sad for your loss.

  5. I am so sorry. But I am happy the little survivor is doing well & thatAunty Del did not have have a hard time with twins, requiring a vet or a hard night for you. I hope they both will continue to thrive. And you will be soothed.

  6. That is sad news, but as others have said, I’m sure the outcome would of been the same even if you had been present. Try to have a nice day.

  7. Yes, I was just going to ask if she’d be a freemartin, with a male twin.
    Isn’t it funny, how you can be sure he was born dead, and simultaneously feel that if you’d only done something different….
    Farming is hard on the heart. You can nearly kill yourself trying to do your absolute best for everyone, but death is always near and present. Every time you turn around and least expect it something has keeled over, often for no apparent cause or reason, and there’s that “What if I’d just – ?” Some events are educational, some are…I guess, opportunities for self-forgiveness and surrender? It’s hard.

  8. So sad and disappointing for you, bummer. Wasn’t Queenie a freemartin and did indeed have a Bobby? Laura

  9. There are never words comforting enough to blanket the emotions we feel with loss. I really loved what Selka had to say above. Life and death is hard.

    I had never heard of a freemartin before so I had to Google that. What might this mean for the future of this heifer calf?

  10. I am so sorry for the loss of your calf. Please be consoled by all the life on your wonderful farm.

  11. Oh Cecilia, I too am so sorry for your loss of the little calf. Such a dreadful sight to come upon. As someone above said you may feel you let Auntie Del down but that is not true. You had the prescience to bring her into the barn so she would be comfortable. And just maybe she preferred to give birth alone. All creatures don’t think or feel as we do. And how many farmers in this world would have The foresight to leave the little calf jacket in the barn just so it would smell barnie enough? As someone above also said so beautifully farming is hard on the heart.

  12. There is no way that gets easier. Being angry is a better energy than the deep sadness that could stop you in your tracks. When you hurt that deeply, anger keeps you moving forward. Sending giant squishy hugs to hopefully heal your heart.

  13. Oh no! But most probably there was nothing you could have done, even if you’d been there. These things happen with animals…

  14. It’s at times like this that I’m a true fatalist and not entirely in a negative sense: seems to me that Auntie Del and Ma Nature collaborated and chose that specific time so that you wouldn’t exhaust both body and spirit in trying to revive a calf who was not able to live. While I can’t begin to predict, let alone understand, why things go the way they go, I tend to believe they do so for a reason—just not *my* reason necessarily.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Nature’s implacable and remorseless ways can be hard to bear. I know your latest little heifer will get all the more love & tenderness as she joins Rainbow & Inky on their quest for greatness.


  15. Don’t be angry with yourself. You might as well blame Aunty Del as yourself… Neither of you was at fault. She produced a perfectly healthy heifer baby, but the poor Bobby wasn’t quite right. What could you do, after all? There is always a reason, it’s just that we often don’t know it, and are angry and frustrated by what we see as a failure. Rejoice in the healthy baby and her clever mama, in all the other calves, and the piglets, and the huge number of people that you make happy every day with your writing and photos. xxx

  16. Oh,Celi, a sad tale indeed. I’ve been thinking of you this morning and decided to come back and let you know. Seems everyone before me expressed so well how I’m thinking so just know I’m there pulling for you too. A new calf is something to celebrate! Enjoy her. — Mame. 🙃

  17. awww I am so sorry Celi- very sad, but as so many have said before me- it’s not your fault…and the fact that you had a barny scented blankie for the wee little heifer speaks volumes about the care you give each and every animal. Bless you.

  18. I’m so sorry, C. How awful that must have been to come upon that. Must have been a shock. We all mourn his loss with you. I’m happy that the female is able to nurse. That is a good sign that Auntie will be able to take care of her. I know you were worried about that. Take care of yourself today. It wasn’t your fault.

  19. I’m sorry the little bobby didn’t make it, whatever the reason, you’ll be heart sore for a while, so take care of yourself. You caught a beautiful moment with mama and baby on the Instagram photo, just beautiful. Warm Aussie hugs.

  20. I am so sorry. To go from a surprise pregnancy to the birth of twins to the frustration and sadness of a stillborn is a wide range of emotions. Very sad but I am glad mama and calf are doing well.

  21. It’s hard to see a newborn dead especially one that looks perfect. You’ve got Aunty Del and the heifer doing well. I’d be angry and upset too, but there’s no real choice about accepting the hard fact of the calf being dead. Still it’s sad.

  22. You stepped away to give her time to relax. You know so well when not to intrude on your animals. It was the best of intentions, and in most cases has turned out well. And then you got this awful shock.

    Farming is so hard. You are up against life and death all the time. Your pain and upset is the price you pay for caring. The alternative would be worse. Keep caring. The community here on your blog is caring for you at the same time. There is so much love here for you.

    And as others have said, there may have been nothing you could have done anyway.

  23. I guess it’s human nature to second guess and ‘what if’. It surely doesn’t make anything easier, I guess the old saying: “if you have livestock eventually you will have deadstock” is true, as sad as that is.

  24. I join everyone else in feeling very sad about this. And I am sorry you are haunted by “What if?” It must be so hard and so hard on the heart.

  25. I too feel sorry
    I suppose Death comes often to a farm. Wherever there is Life and birth Death follows.

  26. That’s so sad… I can understand you wishing you’d been there. It must’ve been difficult walking in and seeing a healthy calf… and another perfect-looking calf who wasn’t alive… ; o (

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