Friday, April 27, 2012

Calf Update - Mooooving in

Since I last posted about our wee calf, we have trekked out to the country every morning and evening to hunt him down, get safely away from his 1200 pound mama, and feed the little booger a bottle.

Each visit was a little bit different. Finding her, finding him, figuring out how to quickly and safely get him into the bed of the truck for his bottle.  Mama cow worked her way closer each time.  The first couple of visits she didn't seem to know where he was.  But finally she figured out that we had him in the truck and she was not shy about coming around.  Big round, roly, wild-looking eyes, chin hung over the tailgate, tongue lolling out, reaching for baby.  
She never got aggressive, just stayed close enough to keep an eye on us and her baby.  
Always backing away as Dad carefully stepped down to the ground with the calf.
Each time we would look the calf over carefully, trying to guess his well-being.  Was he getting any stronger?  Was he losing more weight?  And the big question: was he getting anything from his mama?

After 5 meals-on-wheels feeds delivered to the pasture, we decided, no, baby was unfortunately not getting any nourishment from mama cow, and we went in this morning for a rescue mission.  Or a calf-napping.  However you want to look at it.

Excitement was high and tension was mounting as we searched for mama and baby.  We were in our usual a.m. feeding configuration: Gramps and the boys in the atv, Mimi & the girls in the truck.  We searched on one side of a row of trees and didn't see them, so the guys worked through to the other side. We sat and waited, straining to see what was going on on the other side of the trees.  We could see just enough to know that they had found the calf.  Then we realized they had scooped it up with them.

Sure enough, moments later they charged through the trees, Dale sitting in the back with the calf.  
Grabbing a quick pic while Gramps closes a gate!
We set out in the lead, and the race was on to get us all through the gate before Mama cow decided to follow.  She's learned to trust us over the last few days, and has been in less of a hurry to get to baby every time we show up.  The first time she was nearly panicking.  I suppose today she figured we'd hand him back over in a few minutes like we had always done before.  

Not so, this time.  This time we got him to a separate location where he guzzled down his bottle. 
Alan insisted on bringing his rope to this event.
No way was I going to point out he's never roped anything!
Once he was all full, we bedded him down for The Move.

To our backyard.

Yes, my friends, we are now bottle-raising a calf in our backyard.

We are taking him on as a project more than a pet, and are already talking up-front with the boys about the fact that he will be sold this fall.

That hasn't seemed to stop us from enjoying scratching his little head throughout the day.  And strongly rooting for his full recovery and growth to stout, playful calf.

We are looking forward to the learning experience this will be for all of us, but no one is more excited than our little farmer.  Alan is taking on baby responsibilities quite seriously, and makes sure he is tended to and cared for well.  
Alan, nose-to-nose with our new charge, making sure he's settling in comfortably.
My biggest hope is that our little calf perks up and takes a similar shine to Alan.  A few more bottles and head scratches and we just might be there!


Kristin said...

Alan caring for a sweet helpless baby is probably just about the sweetest thing ever. There is so much there. Love that boy.

Karen@Candid Diversions said...

I'm glad my girls haven't learned to read blogs yet. They would surely point out the injustice of their Mom's friends having a calf in their backyard when we won't even let them have a little ol' dog yet. ;)

Can't wait to read the next "Calf Adventures" installment.

Kerimae said...

LOL! So glad you're keeping me entertained these days :) Why sell him? Why not keep him for....umm.....meat?

Lucy said...

You are such an adventurous bunch! I agree with Kerimae - why not just keep him?! Alan would love that!