Calf's birth adds excitement to Deerfield Fair
DEERFIELD — Brigadoon the cow probably never expected a big audience when she gave birth to her first calf, but that's what happened Saturday night when she began calving at the Deerfield Fair.
Surrounded by several dozen fair-goers who jockeyed for a good position to capture the birth on camera, Brigadoon and her owners tried to ignore all the attention and focused on making sure it was a successful delivery inside one of the fair's cow barns.
Brigadoon's due date was Oct. 1, so the odds were good that the 2½-year-old Holstein would give birth around the time of the fair, which ran from Thursday to Sunday.
"Obviously, she didn't make it (to her due date)," said Katie Downs, who helped with the birth and whose father, Jim Downs, owns Downs Farms of Loudon and Gilmanton Iron Works.
Word of the birth spread quickly around the fairgrounds, drawing more and more people to the barn for the unplanned event.
"There's a cow having a calf!" excited spectators told others who wondered what all the fuss was about.
The birth was quite a spectacle and Downs worried Brigadoon would become stressed by all the people.
After about two hours of calving, Brigadoon delivered a healthy female calf at exactly 6:45 p.m.
The crowd remained calm in the minutes after the birth, anxiously awaiting a sign that all was well.
"It's not breathing!" one little boy shouted nervously to his parents while catching a good view from atop his father's shoulders.
The boy didn't know that the calf was just fine, and moments later, it became clear that the birth was a success.
The newborn calf was placed with her mom, who licked her clean and prepared for motherhood.
Applause erupted from the crowd of smiling fair-goers, many of whom had never witnessed a cow giving birth.
The calf took her first steps about two hours after the birth and things went well for mom and baby Saturday night.
"The mother and baby are both doing great. She's an awesome mother," Downs said of Brigadoon.
Brigadoon participated in her first show at the fair on Thursday, but she spent Sunday resting with her baby, which had not yet been named.
"We're just letting mom and baby relax and trying to keep them happy," Downs said.
Calves have been born at the fair before, but farmers said it doesn't happen all that often.
For Downs, Saturday night's experience was just another day in the life of a farmer.
"I'm sure it was interesting for the people that have never seen it," Downs said, "but for me it was just another birth."
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