Grit Blogs > Pasture Deficit Disorder

Lost calf

Last Monday evening, we were tending to the chickens when our neighbor came over and asked if we’d seen a chocolate brown calf loose on our property. Apparently, his heifer Peaches had her first calf sometime Sunday and he found Peaches after work Monday, but not the calf.  My father in law, here for a visit, said he had seen Peaches pacing along our common fence line, shaking her head and bellowing earlier in the day, while he was out taking pictures in the pasture.

We finished up our chicken chores and headed out to join the search.  We searched every corner of our property and across the fences of the adjoining properties for a couple of hours, to no avail.  We even tried to get Peaches to come through the gate to our property, and give her a chance to maybe find her baby herself, but she wouldn’t have any part of that.  We still had one more day off work for my father-in-law’s visit. We told the neighbor we’d keep our eyes open for the calf since we’d be around the next day.  Seven buzzards were circling overhead that evening.  My father-in-law said he hated to be a pessimist, but that wasn’t a good sign.

We went in for the night with heavy hearts.  My hubby asked the spirit of our beloved dog Maggie (aka Moo Moo), who is buried in the front pasture, now dubbed “Moo’s Meadow” to watch over the little calf that night.  Maggie was a friend to all little critters.  We swear she’s responsible for all the kitties that have shown up at our door!   

The next morning, my hubby was up and out early with the dogs - they don’t recognize days off for sleeping in, and luckily he always wakes up early anyway.  I was still asleep.  My cell phone started ringing and I groggily grabbed it from the night stand and saw it was my hubby.   When I answered, he said he needed help, they’d found the calf!!!   I flew out of bed and got dressed and ran outside into the pasture.  Here’s how it unfolded:

Hubby was out with the dogs and they were doing their usual frolicking around before getting down to “business”.  Hubby told Cisco (another friend to all critters – he’s also known as “Babe” because of this), “Buddy, we’ve got to find that little calf today.”

Cisco took off through the nearly three foot tall oats and rye grass (one of his favorite places to romp) and suddenly his nose went straight into the air.  He was wading through the tall grass, seemingly unable to even see where he was going because his nose was pointed towards the sky!  And then his head suddenly dropped down into the grass and his tail started wagging 100 miles per hour.  Hubby thought, “No way!”  He ran over to the spot and all-be-darned, there was the calf, about ten feet from our shed (and we had searched all around there the day before), curled up in a little ball in three foot tall grass.  At first, he wasn’t sure if the calf was still alive, but then he saw an ear twitch.  Yes!!

 lucky calf

What a beautiful little bull calf he is!  Hubby picked him up and I opened gates for him and we put him in the neighbors’ corral.  He stayed lying down right where hubby set him - now to get mama in the corral too.  Ellie, our Husky, was being naughty and not helping matters, and every time I tried to shoo her off, Peaches would follow me – away from the corral.  After several back and forth tries, I finally had to take Ellie all the way home and put her in our backyard.  Then I got a small scoop of sweet feed and convinced Peaches to follow me into the corral.  Hubby went to get the water hose to fill up a trough in the corral and I went to get Peaches some hay.  When hubby turned the water on, the noise startled the calf and he jumped up and went to the other side of the corral.  Peaches finally started nuzzling him a little bit and before we left, he had latched on for a much-needed meal!  Success!!

We got back to the house and within a few minutes, my father-in-law came into the kitchen.  We greeted him with, “Boy have we got a story for you this morning…”

With the horrible events unfolding in Boston on Monday, we were glad to have at least one small happy ending.  What an adventurous morning…and we don’t even have cows of our own yet. 

Until next time, worms rock and bees rule.

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