Monday, April 12, 2010

A Tale of Three Calves - Part I "Spot"

So the story starts about a year ago. Last spring, when old man winter thought since we didn't get much snow over the winter he needed to give us one crazy snow storm just for kicks. So we wake up on that crazy snow storm Saturday morning to cold temperatures, crazy wind, and snow / ice falling like crazy and beating us in the face. Well on the fretful morning, while checking the cattle, Caleb discovers a cow who first of all had given birth to a calf and second of all was a terrible momma cause she hadn't licked it clean at all. Which on most days is bad, and it's even worse when momma doesn't clean the baby off and there is freezing temps.

If the momma cow doesn't get up and clean / dry the baby off it can freeze in extremely cold temps. How doesn't momma cow do such a task? Answer: with her tongue. Her tongue...YUCK, I can't imagine licking a baby clean with my can we say gross. Well most momma's don't mind, but this one must have been thinking what I was gross, I don't want to lick that thing off. So she didn't, and the baby never got warmed up and he never got up to eat. This was very obvious when Caleb stuck his fingers in the mouth and it was cold as an ice cube.

So Caleb snatches up the baby and rushes up to Grandma and Pop's house to try and warm the little guy up. On his way there he gives me a call and tells me to meet him there so I can help with the little guy.

When we get to Grandma and Pop's we take the little guy in and place him in the bathtub and then start running warm water. You have to make sure it's not to hot because the shock from cold to hot can kill them. Well this little guy wasn't looking to good when Caleb found him and Caleb thought he might have been to far gone when we finally got him into the bath. But after a long soak in the tub and using up all the hot water in the house we finally get the little guy out, start drying him off and then take him into their heated garage to let him lay there and warm up and dry off completely.

We still have the problem of the little guy still hasn't had anything to eat just yet. The best way to warm a calf up is get something warm in his belly. So we mix up some colostrum and try and feed the little guy. (colostrum = milk secreted for a few days after parturition and characterized by high protein and antibody content. It helps the babies be healthier when they drink it, so when we don't have momma to give it to them then we will mix up a powder formula and let them drink that instead.) Well of course since this little guy was pretty bad off he wouldn't drink so we had to do what is call 'drenching'. It's where you take a long tube and stick it down the throat of the calf and then drain all the milk / colostrum into the calf's stomach. The key to doing this is to get the tube down the throat and not down the trachea; cause if you get it in the trachea you will drown the calf. Well once again Caleb thought he might of got the tube down the wrong hole and killed the calf, cause after he got all the colostrum down in the calf the calf went from acting decent to acting like it was on it's last leg. After 30 minutes to an hour the calf started acting better.

Outside it was still snowin' like crazy so we thought it would be better for the calf to stay in the garage, where it's warm, over night and then we would take it back to it's momma.

So the next day, I think after church I don't think they canceled it.....anyways we head back over to check on the little guy and he is up, hungry and ready to go. So we load him up and take him back over to momma. Well momma doesn’t want to have anything to do with this little guy....why...this is here baby...why wouldn't she want to take care of here baby. Well since she didn't lick her baby off, she didn't know what here baby smelled / tasted like. Also since we gave the little guy a bath all the scent was washed away and down the drain so momma didn't recognize her baby. Well CRAP! All this work and momma won't take her. Well in the process of saving this calf the day before we actually lost another one. And the momma who lost the baby was sure wanting one, so with a little trick I learned from my dad, we got this other cow to take the little baby....great this is awesome!!

So we thought come to find out this new momma wasn't giving any milk so the little guy was just starving.

So in the end when it was all said an done, we ended up making this little guy into a bottle calf.

Everyone else just calls him calf or bottle calf, but that's not good enough for me...I have to name the little guy. So I end up calling an all black calf Spot.
Why would I do such a thing....well if you look there on his chin you will see a dark black that's that!

These are some of the early photos from my little point and was what I used before I got my camera.
The funny thing about bottle claves is that they think of their owner as their momma so any time you are around they think you have a bottle and they want to suck on it. And if you don't have a bottle they will suck on anything they can wrap their tongue arround....
...even a camera!
So, they are always close o your side, making it very hard to take a picture of them.

Finally a good picture of the little stinker.
I gotta go....
NO...don't leave me!! Why must you go I want more food!!
(Here's a better picture of his "Spot.")

Stay Tuned for "Part II Winkie"


  1. Awwww, such a cutie! I do know how those bottle calves are. Our Hereford is now a year old and still loves to rub on mama. Of course his rub-love sends mama across the barn now! =)

  2. You are making me miss cattle. Or calves anyway. I love how they suck on your fingers. But then I think of the way they pull the nipple off the bottle and you have to mix another bottle. Okay I don't miss those cute little suckers as much now! :) Very cute post.

  3. That calf is adorable, I'm so glad you rescued him!

  4. How cute! There is nothing cuter...or more obnoxious than a bottle calf!