If it hadn't been for the fact that she wasn't anywhere near her due dates, I would have said that Dolly the cow was in the early stages of calving. The night before last she was stomping around lashing her tail from side to side but although her udder was starting to 'bag up' it wasn't excessively so.
Yesterday she seemed absolutely fine but by yesterday evening I had my concerns again. Her udder had filled a bit more and there were hollows at her tail head - signs of the pelvic ligaments slackening ready for the birth.
Hmmm ... I have been caught out this way before, resulting in nights of broken sleep with frequent visits to the cowshed; the cow invariably producing an offspring only several days later during daylight hours. But even so ... she watched me as I bedded up a pen for her - it made me feel better if nothing else - and I opened the gate for her and she shot through. I watched her for a few minutes but no signs of anything further so I left her and went to bed.
Early this morning I went out to check that everything was as I had left it - and was astounded to find not just one, but TWO newly born heifer calves and a very proud Dolly. And Nero, in the pen next door, really did appear to have a smile on his face.