This spring, Darrin has 130 heifers at the home ranch and in about 3 months time, they will all have their babies.  When it rains, it pours.  In one day, Darrin had 11 heifers calve out… and at 9pm, he had to go pull a 12th.  Yes, I said pull.  Darrin gives heifers about 1  1/2 hours to calve on their own.  After that time frame, both mom and baby are in danger.  To save both their lives, Darrin literally reaches up into the heifer and with his hand pulls the calf’s hooves out of the mom.  I should note, this heifer is in an extremely odd position which made it tough to have her baby, but easy for Darrin to walk up to her.  Typically, he has to get the heifer into a squeeze chute (I’ll show you that next!).  On this night, he was able to pull the calf right on the corral. 


Next, he puts chains around the calf’s legs and every time the heifer has a contraction he pulls…with all his might.  Keep in mind, the calf is stuck. Every minute that passes, the calf is losing oxygen.  Darrin has to get the baby out. 


 Finally, the calf begins to slide out and Darrin now gently pulls it from the heifer.










 Once born, he immediately checks to make sure the airways are clear and the calf is breathing.  I’ve literally seen this man give mouth to snout resuscitation… that’s how much he cares about his animals.  This little guy was breathing on its own just fine. 


It was actually the heifer Darrin was worried about.  You can kind of see how she’s laying on her back.  Very unusual.  Cows give birth laying on their sides.  Darrin had to pull her over to get her onto her side.   As he did this, there was a huge roar of laughter from his truck where Eva and Domi were holding the spotlight.  Seeing that heifer rolled over struck their funny bone hard! 


After he pulled this calf, we started to finally go home but NO!  This day was never to end.  A 13th heifer started to calve out.  Darrin got home, waited for 90 minutes and drove back over to the corrals to check on her.  Thankfully, she did it on her own!  Darrin has got to be the most underpaid obstetrician around!   

 Blogger’s note:  Sorry these pictures are so hard to see.  Domi was holding the main spotlight about 30 yards away.  I was holding a flashlight with my left hand and trying to take pictures with my right.  Multi tasking at its best!  More to come from the nursery soon!

About Wendy D

I was born in San Francisco and ended up marrying a rancher in Reno, Nevada. I have a big city job anchoring the 5 o’clock news but come home to the country where my husband’s family has ranched for 5 generations.


  1. Tracey Keller says:

    Go Darrin! I can only picture the kids in the truck with the flashlights, you with a flashlight and a camera. You multitasker you. Looks like you have put quiet a dent in the list of calfs for this season. Keep up the good work. Love the blog by the way! Tracey

Speak Your Mind