Do Like Mama Does

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life

In ranch country, there are a plethora of jokes likening mama people to mama cows. When I was pregnant, I usually just rolled my eyes and laughed obligingly at  wisecracks of using calf pullers on a lady in labor (ouch!) or anything related to a “first-calf heifer.” Really, what pregnant lady doesn’t want to be called a cow?

But there is one comparison between mama cows and mamas of all other species that I love turning over in my mind. Many believe that the biggest influence on a calf’s behavior as a full-grown bovine is its mother’s personality. EPDs and genetic selection are powerful, but a calf spends all its time until its is weaned following its mother around. If mama is hooky and aggressive, baby learns to put his head down and charge. If mama is docile and trots with the herd, baby learns to peacefully be gathered and moved.

I like to think mama people and baby people are the same way, too. Knowing my small daughter and son are absorbing my actions and behaviors all day inspires me to be a better person.

At least until they graduate high school and leave home. Just kidding!

I just love the almost-tangible bond between a mama and her baby. While on my way to a birthday party at the nearby YP Ranch, I stopped to photograph this black baldy pair. Both were stopped and staring straight at me until I opened my car door and foolishly shut it to take a picture. The the loud clank spooked Mama Cow, who turned and trotted off. Her baby of course followed.


See how closely the (very big) calf is sticking by Mama’s side? They’re even on the same stride in this picture. PS good job to the YP Ranch – look at that big fat calf and that big fat cow! That’s how we raise ’em in northern Nevada.


A few strides later, the pair stopped and Mama glanced back at me. See her baby’s face turning to look as well?


The calf, like any other baby horse, deer, sheep, puppy or person, knows to do like mama does.

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life

About Jolyn Young

Jolyn Young lives near Montello, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit

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