How to Save an Orphaned Calf

| 8/5/2009 3:14:24 PM

So, we had been camping out at the primitive property on Memorial weekend with a group of our friends until an intense short lived storm took out several tents and put a damper on staying out in the wilderness. We opted to move the camp out to our farm house and have a nice roof and dry bedding for everyone to enjoy.

Memorial Day itself could not have been prettier, the sun was shining, the breeze was blowing and several newborn calves were about to take a very different path (that inevitably leads straight to the misfit corral).

We took a couple of our friends and their 2 children (ages 6 and 3) for a farm tour. First up, a visit to the chicken coop. I knew it was a bad omen when my broken beak hen had passed away in the night (she had a broken beak since day 3 of her life and I guess it caught up to her). The kids took it much better than I did, so we carried on (no time to mourn my chicken’s untimely demise). We fed treats to some of the donkeys and calves and even had one of our 2000-pound Brahma mommas stick her head in the SUV window to lick the toddler. Not sure if she was amused but all the adults sure were!

A trip to the back pasture proved even more interesting as we encountered two things happening at once. One of our cows was in the throws of labor, and another cow had an extremely swollen udder and could not feed her newborn.

Life lessons for our little city slickers – as we watched one being born the other had to be lured to the corral area with her calf so we could take control of the situation. We left the other cow in labor alone, as everything looked like it was going along fine. Which, I have now learned, never assume things are going along fine on a farm.

After our friends had the eventful tour, they headed back to the city and we headed back to the pasture. By this time we had called in back-up, my cowboy’s momma and sister had come to help too. The first piece of business was to get old cross bred momma into the corral with her calf. Easier said than done, but let’s just say we are good truck wranglers.

kate mack_1
3/26/2010 2:07:12 PM


Jacqueline Ryckman
9/12/2009 1:28:11 PM

Reading this brings back memories of bottle feeding calves. It was the chore that my parent's assigned to us when I was a kid growing up on a hobby farm. Believe it or not, I actually miss doing it.

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