Farmers pull rare cow through 6-foot snow drifts to give birth
By Tina Detelj, WTNH Reporter

Published: February 18, 2015, 4:00 pm Updated: February 18, 2015, 5:58 pm


NORTH STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Lydia the cow was in a roadside paddock when Beth Tillman realized it was just about to give birth. It’s the farthest pen from the barn and right in the middle of a snowstorm. Tillman says her son and one of their workers at Firefly Farms used a big strap to pull the scared and pregnant cow across snow-covered fields and through six-foot snow drifts. “When you elect to do farming, you do what you have to do to keep your animals safe,” said Tillman. “So that’s all there is to it.”

Three days later, Lydia gave birth to Fortuna, but it may not have happened if they didn’t act quickly. “Outdoor births at this time of year, it means death,” said Tillman.

The cows on the North Stonington farm are Randall Lineback, an old Vermont breed. There are only about 500 still in existence. At Firefly Farms, they say they are conservators of rare breeds. “Each one of these births is critical to the gene pool,” said Tillman.

Also in the barn is Juno, who was born right in the middle of the recent blizzard. Normally they like to see the calves born between May and June.

“From now on winter pregnancies will be a thing of the past because it’s just too much,” said Tillman.

They have five winter babies right now, though, and another one on the way.