Colorful Calves

Most of what I know about cows, I’ve learned from Jason.
Rephrasing. 

Everything I know about cows, I’ve learned from Jason.

I’ve only seen one baby calf born a couple of years back, and it was one of the most awesome things I’ve experienced.  Except for the fact that it was a first time mommy. You have to keep your eyes on those first timers.  So when Jason pulled kind of close to make sure it wasn’t having trouble, she decided to stand up and flee causing the calf to fall out on its head.  Then it was something akin to trauma in the ER.  The momma cow ran off scared.  Jason had to rush out of the truck, pick the baby up by its back legs, shake it (not sure why).  Then he got a piece of grass and tickled its slimy nose until it sneezed to make sure its lungs were all clear.  Then we left and hid out with a pair of binoculars and watched to make sure the momma came back. 
And she did. 
And all was right with the world.

When calving begins, it’s my favorite part of the whole ranching life. 
Most of the time, calves are born, mommas tend to their babies, and the angels sing.  In my mind they do.
But some calves aren’t so lucky. 

While out feeding this past weekend, Jason found a calf.  Its momma was nowhere in sight and she hadn’t yet cleaned it off.  It was lying in the snow in dire need of nursing.  After an unsuccessful attempt to reunite the mom with the calf, and knowing the baby needed nourishment right away, he called me to tell me he’s bringing a baby home.  I love it!  A bottle calf.  It adds excitement to my life.

He didn’t have a good way to transport it, so he used his cowboy smarts and put it in the cake feeder.

Here you can see its umbilical cord still hanging.  It was probably born that morning.
It usually takes a good amount of time to get a brand new calf to nurse.  Everything is unfamiliar to them. 
This particular calf was very stubborn.  Jason had to pry her mouth open.  She still wouldn’t suck the bottle. 
Notice the yellow Crocs Jason’s wearing.
He likes to wear my shoes. 
And sometimes my undergarments, but we won’t discuss that.
After a very long time of trying, consoling, persuading, and petting the baby, it still hadn’t figured out how to suck.
Desperate to get colostrum (mother’s antibodies) into her, he had to tube her by running a hose into her belly and I had to pour the colostrum into a funnel. 
This was extremely unpleasant for me, and I wasn’t the one with a tube down my throat.
The gagging was the worst part.

I think I was louder than the calf.

We then decided to call it a night, desperately hoping she would make it.  The  next morning, she was hanging in there.  Since Jason was cooking a delectable breakfast for us, I decided I’d try my non-ranching hand at bottle feeding. 

She still wouldn’t take the bottle.  She fought it, thrashing her head around, chewing on the nipple.  So I decided to do what I do when I’m in doubt.  I googled it.  One little trick said to dip your fingers into the milk, let the calf suck your fingers a while, and then sneak the nipple into its mouth.  Lo and behold, this piece of sneakery worked.  As she sucked on my fingers, I stealthily crammed the nipple in her mouth. 

Did you know?  Calves only have bottom teeth.

After church, she took another bottle.  Then we delivered her to the owner’s family to raise her.  This same family bottle-raised a different black calf in the past.  The daughter named that one Rainbow.  So in the tradition of giving a little color to a black calf, this one is named Scarlet.

Frankly my dear, I hope you do well.

P.S.  Jason really doesn’t wear my undergarments, unfortunately.

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3 thoughts on “Colorful Calves

  1. i kno he ain't no cross dresser,m 'cause last time i's there i couldn't find a thing to wearvery insightful, i would never have thought of the finger, and milk trick.very humorous, i'm still laughing.jason, has to kno a lot, and i have respect for him.

    Like

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