This spring, Jules and I were checking on the cows, and we came at just the right time to see Auggie be born.

He came out the way he was supposed to – with nose lying on front feet first – but his mom was standing up. Now, this isn’t too uncommon, but I’ve not seen it much, honestly. Usually the cow lies down and has her baby that way.

Still, Julia and I stood back and watched this little guy slip into the world and land with a thump on his nose.

We weren’t too far away, and we could tell he was okay – he was moving and breathing – but I was alarmed when I saw his face. My first thought was that he’d broken his jaw when he landed on his head.

After getting a little closer and examining him (not touching him, because, you know, mama was kind of protective) I realized that Auggie had a cleft palate.

Maybe you’ve seen or heard of this in children before, as I have, but I’ve never seen it in a calf. He has the top of his nose, but the bottom of his nostrils are missing. His mouth just closes on his nose, which is kind of flat. There’s really nothing to hold his tongue in. 

I never said anything to anyone online, because I honestly wasn’t sure if he’d live. I didn’t think he’d be able to suck. Often with a severe cleft palate, there’s a hole in the roof of the mouth and normal breathing and swallowing is hard if not impossible.

Auggie’s cleft palate is pretty severe.

I hate it when I tell a story about one of our animals and they end up not making it. So, I waited.

I have to hand it to Auggie’s mom. She’s a sweetheart and she stood patiently while Auggie nosed around, fumbling and clumsy, as he tried to learn to eat.

I never talked about the calf I killed (on accident) and I guess I don’t want to do that now, but Auggie was born this spring about that time. Let’s just say it hadn’t been a great week for me. Seeing Auggie’s mom patiently stand still while Auggie taught himself to eat was such a joy.

And he did it. He ate.

We were told he might be able to suck, but he probably wouldn’t be able to chew grain or grass.

Well, I can report to you today that he’s been eating grass for several months (and we don’t feed grain) and he’s not only surviving, but thriving. 

I have a pic below. He’s one of our favs. : )