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Hayhurst’s Hayloft: A tongue-in-cheek look at a common cattle term.

Susan Hayhurst

May 2, 2020

1 Min Read
Beef cow with calf
DON’T DROP THE BABY: A cow “dropping a calf” is a common term for cattle producers, but it may shock even a cattleman’s wife raised in the city! emholk/Getty Images

One must hold a baby carefully. This directive was taught by my mom when I started babysitting the neighbor’s children. It was taught to my brothers when Mom and Dad brought me home from the hospital as a 4-pound, 7-month-old preemie. My brothers have said many times that Mom told them, “Don’t drop the baby!”

So, you can imagine how horrified I was to hear my husband, Terry, walk in and announce, “Big Ears dropped a heifer.” Being married to a cattle producer for 30-plus years, I’ve heard lots of different terminology. Nothing prepared me for hearing our cows “dropped” their babies.


Excuse me, but why can’t they just lie down like other civilized mammals and ease their babies out? I believe our great agriculture and animal science institutions have been remiss in not offering coaching or Lamaze classes for producers who will spend their careers raising livestock. At least they should teach them how to create and develop monster-sized “catcher’s mitts” for animals about to drop babies.

Why would the good Lord who endowed animals to bring forth offspring want those precious, albeit somewhat large, bundles to shoot out and “hit” the ground? Genesis 1 says, “And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock …’” Nowhere does it say, “And let them drop their babies on their heads.”

I do, however, believe that David’s writing in Psalm 50:10, “The cattle on a thousand hills,” provides for gentle pastures; lush, cushy grass; and unlimited lakes. It’s just what the veterinarians ordered.

While catcher’s mitts may still be the order of the day, I’m so thankful for multiple pillows, drugs, and no one in labor and delivery yelling, “Don’t drop the baby!”

Hayhurst writes from Terre Haute, Ind.




About the Author(s)

Susan Hayhurst

Susan Hayhurst writes from Terre Haute, Ind.

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