While wandering around Ruapekapeka, a beautifully maintained and interpreted pa site not far from our current housesit, a cow in the neighbouring paddock caught my eye. At first glance it looked like she was shitting a long red rag. At second glance I took in the new born calf lying at her feet and realised I was watching her expel an enormous placenta.
I beckoned Al over from his inspection of an old cannon and we watched while the cow shat then pissed on her calf before reaching round to start chewing on the placenta. It stretched the length of her body like a prayer flag, in shades of blood, tissue translucent with a pattern of opaque clots, beautiful and gross at the same time. She chewed and swallowed with persistance until at last the final bit fell to the ground. After a while she tried to cough it up but she had eaten too much and there was no alternative but to keep sucking it down. It was too tough for her grass-chewing molars to cut through. I started to feel a bit sick in sympathy as I imagined the feeling of endless slimy tissue filling my vegetarian gullet.
Due to our facination with the placenta eating we were late for our date at Ngawha Hot Springs but we had to leave before she finished eating and didn’t get to see the cute calf feeding scenes we were hoping for.