A former dairy cow who had all of her babies taken away from her, decided that would never happen again by hiding her newborn calf.
Clarebelle was rescued last fall from a dairy farm by Australia’s Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary. It was soon discovered that she was pregnant.
According to the sanctuary, it was Clarabelle’s odd behavior that told them something was amiss. Although she wasn’t due for another week, she was acting wary and distant around the volunteers. They also noticed an enlarged sole teat.
After a search, baby Valentine was found, hidden behind tall grass (she was named Valentine because she was found on Valentine’s Day), with her umbilical cord still attached.
Cows are known for their maternal instincts. Dr. Temple Grandin has said that the fear memories of cattle can never be deleted. This fact was made true in Clarabelle’s case when a dairy farm worker (from where Clarabelle came) told the sanctuary that the cows remembered which vehicle came and took their baby away shortly after birth. Their behavior would turn nervous and anxious as they looked for their missing babies.
Pam Ahern, founder of Edgar’s Mission, recounted for The Dodo a similar story involving a mother cow named Pixie.
“Pixie herself was very young, way too young to have been mated,” Ahern said. “[But] Pixie was very, very protective and loving of her baby. Although a first-time mother, and a very young one at that, the maternal instinct was very strong and one we determined never to break.”
After years of experiencing her babies being taken away from her, Clarabelle’s maternal instinct kicked in and did what any mother would do: she was determined to protect her baby and keep her safe.
Thankfully, Clarabelle and Valentine will never be separated, and will live out their days together on the farm.