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Monday, March 11, 2013

Life's Rollercoaster

Thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts and comments on the death of the lil' brown calf. CDNCowgirl said it very well:
"Despite what the end holds for most cows to lose such a young calf is so sad."
Yes, their beef cows...raised to be eaten. But it's so hard to stand by and watch a young life slip away...knowing you've done all you could do. But God has his own plan, and we just need to go with it.

Cindy Sue is lending her support.
It makes me feel better knowing that the brown calf's last hour of life was in warmth and love instead of dying out in the cold. A lot of tears were shed.

But, we forge forward...what to do with a cow that has lots of milk to give...but we don't know if she'll accept another calf. We decided that we had to give it a try.

We put phone calls out to all the neighbor ranches and posted on FB...then yesterday afternoon, dear friend Rancher Dan called and said he had a calf that might work for us. He was about a week old, and had been abandoned by his mother...and he'd been sneaking drinks of milks from all the other cows when he could...he wasn't shy!

So, we headed over with the trailer, got him scooped up out of the field while he was sleeping in the sun, and loaded him up for home.

We put him (a bull calf) in with Annabelle, and she wasn't violent toward him, but she didn't want him to nurse...so we got her into the first section of the lead up to the squeeze chute; a board in front and a board in back...she couldn't get away.

We brought up the lil' guy behind her, and he knew exactly what to do! So in less than 24 hours, we had a calf for her...our hopes are high that this will work!

Despite being pooped and peed on, he drank and drank...

...and drank until he was full !

I tried to hobble Annabelle's hocks, but being the rookie that I am, was unsuccessful. So, we turned her loose with him in the paddock. If she won't let him nurse today, we repeat yesterday's exercise.

It looks to me that she's going to accept him, it'll just take some time.

Last evening when we left the barn, the lil' guy was snug and warm in the calf shelter...and he was still in there this mornin'. It's good to know that he's safe...now we'll see if today will bring them closer together as a pair. Wish us luck!


17 comments:

Shirley said...

Awwww, Cindy Sue looks so compassionate in that photo. I find that dogs are really sensitive to our emotions, when I'm sad Tess is stuck like glue to me.
That's great that you found a calf so quickly, he's a resourceful little fellow and I hope Annabelle tolerates him today.

Mary Ann said...

I'm so sorry about the calf but so happy that you went to so much trouble for cow and new calf! Brava!

Linda said...

Aw.....that's too bad you lost the calf but good that you found a replacement. I made a set of hobbles for this very thing. Two leather "dog collars" made a lot heavier that go around the cows ankles with three links of chain in between.

K.K. said...

These are the types of posts I wish hardcore animal rights people could read. The fact that you care and love for a newborn baby calf and even shed some tears over the loss is what so many people don't see and understand about cattle ranchers. So many people jump down the throats of people in agriculture calling them evil. I just wish they could actaully go out and see how much love and care is given to cattle and other livestock.

DarcC said...

Here's hoping that they bond!

Maia said...

That is so sad, but speaks so well of you that you tried so hard to save him. Oh yes and by the way, your pics are great. You are doing so well.

Cowgirl Rae said...

I know how tough it is to fight that fast acting scours. I lost 4 jersey calves over as many days once, they scoured in the morning and by night they were gone. I called the Dairy and she said it went thru their place too, they lost 10 or so same time as I did. Had to do the grafting thing too, lucky you have the advantage and can wait her out, a sore bag will change her mind. Great job finding a calf!

CDH said...

So happy Annabelle has a new baby! :) Just keep at it and before you know it, you will show up and baby will be sucking.. We've have 5 spilices this year and all have worked. It takes patience and supervision so baby doesn't get hurt. Good Luck! :) It's a HUGE reward when mama and baby head out with the rest of the gang..

lisa said...

Glad you were able to find a sub for the mom to help get rid of some of her milk! Nothing worse than having all that milk and no place for it to go! Never easy to lose any kind of animal. Especially ones that you depend on for your lively hood!

Susan said...

They say it takes around five days of drinking her milk and then he'll start smelling like her. It always worked for us.

lilyrose said...

Sounds like it's going pretty well. Her pooping on him will actually help, as she smells her smell on him. You really do a great job caring for your critters.

Hydrant girl said...

What a great ending to a sad story.

Hydrant girl said...

What a great ending to a sad story.

cdncowgirl said...

Kind of neat how things work out... you had a cow with no calf and your friend had a calf in need of a mama. Poor little guy, despite sneaking drinks it sounds like he was thirsty for a real meal. Sure hope Annabelle takes to him.

Summer Vlietstra said...

So sorry to hear about the calf. It is so difficult when that happens.
I am glad a farmer friend had a calf for you. Fingers crossed the new adoptive mama will take to the little one.

Candy C. said...

I sure hope Annabelle accepts the new little guy! He sure looked like he needed some dinner! From some of the other comments, it sounds like it should work after a few days. I have my fingers crossed!

Celeste said...

So sad and yet from the loss comes good fortune for another calf. Nature has a way of balancing things out - good luck with your new calf.

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