Fall calving season has been in full swing at Grieb Ranch, keeping us extra busy managing all the new arrivals.
The Fun Side of Calving Season
The first heifer calf of the season was born from Baby R’s heifer calf. All the grand kids at Grieb Ranch have a cow in the herd. This new heifer calf was named Reagy Hidder by Baby R’s brothers. Lil’ cowboy L’s cow had twin bulls which we named Lucky and Loggy. Baby calves born from the lil’ cowboys and cowgirl’s cows get names with the first initials of the lil’ cowboy or cowgirl. Seeing the new arrivals and naming the new calves was the fun side of our calving season.
The Not-so-Fun Side of Calving Season
Taking Care of a Blind Mother Cow
Next we had a mother cow go blind in both eyes. She ended up in a ravine (getting feed and water to her was a steep adventure), where she calved a few weeks early with the bull calf (Levi Jefferson) born through the fence and consequently onto the neighbor’s property.
Unfortunately, the mother cow did not have much milk and was not tolerating her calf. So guess who was busy raising little Levi Jefferson as a bottle calf until a different mother cow needed him? We fed the motherless calf a full bottle of milk replacement two times a day.
It was very challenging to walk the mother cow out of the ravine and load her in a make-sift corral in the middle of nowhere. Have you ever tried to herd a blind cow on a steep hillside?
Untimely Death of a Calf
One little newborn calf was found dead and devoured within 24 hours. All that was left was the top of the skull, spine and one leg. That’s the reality of managing a herd of cattle.
A Happy Ending
A Motherless Calf Connects with a Calfless Mother Cow
Little Levi Jefferson my bottle calf has a new mom! Connie’s registered Angus cow’s newborn heifer calf dropped dead a few days after we had just given her the first set of booster shots. This put Amy the mother cow in need of a calf. Good thing we had Levi Jefferson waiting for a new mom. In order for her to accept the new calf we needed to graft the dead calf’s skin to the “adoptee”.
So what does grafting a calf look like? The easiest way is to make a jacket for the calf you want to graft out of the dead calf’s hide. We brought Amy the calfless mother cow into the barn along with her dead calf. We cut a large square patch of the dead calf’s hide off and then draped the “adoptee” Levi Jefferson with a cape of the hide. We gave the new pair bonding time where Amy the calfless mother cow licked and licked her adoptee calf, Levi Jefferson, who was wearing the hide. Amy the mother cow was halter broke so she was tied up so while we helped Levi Jefferson nurse. After being on a bottle for months it was amazing how his instinct took over and he went right to nursing.
We made sure he sucked all four tits to get her milked out (it was nice not to have to hand-milk her). We will see how the rest of the story goes…………..
I sure hope it is a HAPPY EVER AFTER ending!
We Have Much to be Thankful For
Even with a few rough starts to the calving season we are enjoying all the new baby calves. We have much to be thankful for!