Trusting mother cow drops off newborn calf with the babysitter

Fiona is an exceptional young mother. She's just had her first calf, Hope, who is only three days old. Normally, cow mothers are not trusting enough of people to come close, even if they know them well. So it is very surprising to see that when Dave goes close to these two, Fiona watches casually as Hope trots right over to see Dave, just like a dog would greet someone they are familiar with.

Fiona has known Dave for two summers now, seeing him occasionally in the meadow when he comes to video the calves or when he helps out with the fences and a few little jobs. Dave often brings a few handfuls of corn which is a favourite treat for Fiona. Even when the corn is gone, Fiona will follow Dave, looking for a head scratch or a face rub. Fiona acts more like a giant dog than a cow.

The day Hope was born, Dave brought Fiona the usual corn snack and went to say hello. Knowing that mother cows can be fiercely protective of their newborns, Dave stood and waited to see what would happen. But just as usual, Fiona walked right up to greet him. Hope followed cautiously behind on shaky legs and watched how his mother was interacting with this strange creature. As Hope saw his mother gobbling up the corn happily, she became immediately curious and decided that she could trust the creature on two legs. Over the next few days, Dave visited several times and Fiona brought her baby over to see him each time. She grazed contentedly as Dave petted Hope and Hope playfully nudged and bounced around Dave.

This meeting was more exceptional than ever though, as Fiona brought Hope over and then seemed to be dropping her off for babysitting. Watching Dave and Hope for a few minutes, it seems that she is acting like a person stopping at the daycare. She gives Hope a last kiss, lets out a moo that could very well mean "Have a good day, Hope" and then she slowly walks up and over the hill. What can't be seen by the camera is that several other new mothers have gone up and over the crest to lie in the sunshine and chew their cud. Gathered all in a large circle, it seems like a social time for the girls and a break from the toddlers.

Fiona took a last look over her shoulder to see that Hope had settled in with Dave. Hope was falling asleep with her head in Dave's lap at this point and Fiona seemed to know that her child was in good hands. Off she went, leaving Dave and Hope on their own.

This behaviour and trust between Fiona and Dave is very unusual. Anyone entering a meadow with newborn calves is very wise to keep their distance. Only with an extraordinarily good-natured cow like Fiona would it be possible to touch her three day old calf. This is obviously not a safe thing to try without understanding the cow well. Even then, no cow is completely predictable. These cows live on an ethical farm where the farms have always been exceptionally kind to their animals and the trust between them has been built over many years.