Who would have thought a bottle calf could have a positive influence in so many ways?
Several days ago, an unexpected proposal came across through text message; a neighbor with cattle wanted to know if I would be willing to bottle feed a late calf if he supplied the milk replacer. While inexperienced in bottle feeding calves, I jumped at the opportunity as I have been telling him for years to get in touch if he needed help with something like that.
So arrived our temporary resident, a freemartin hereford cross heifer I have dubbed Heiferlump.
Shortly after she got here, a nasty necrotic wound was discovered. Our best guess was a coyote got a good bite or two in on her before she was discovered. The wound was scrubbed and cleaned of flies and maggots, sprayed with an antibacterial insect repellent and packed with petro-carb. She waa given some antibiotics and electrolytes were added to her milk.
Her first couple nights were dodgey, and I found myself packing the 2 month old boy child into the moby to check on her and offer the couple drinks of electrolyte packed milk she would swallow.
Now, however, I am nearly tackled upon my arrival to the pasture, and every time I am certain she will break my foot as she spins around me with excitement; she is eating grass and drinking 3 full liters at each feed. To my amazement, this exuberent calf has piqued the curiosity of our dexter heifer, Dezzi, and within a couple days has afforded me the opportunity to hand feed her some beans and even get a couple strokes in on the muzzle. Because of this, her mother Star, has discovered her own passion for beans and has decided I am a little more interesting than before.
Because of Lumpy, I am on the search for a registerable bottle dexter heifer, and I am determined to find one. There is something enchanting about a bottle calf that goat kids lack, and i love the bond so quickly formed. I dream of walking out to the pasture in the spring mornings to find my children laying on the cow reading to her as she rhytmically chews her cud. I am not looking forward to the day our guests time here is over. By the there will be that inevitable love, and my heart will ache as she steps onto the trailer and disappears in the dust cloud of our grid road.
For now though, I will enjoy draping myself over her back and petting her after she is finished her bottle, and I will revel in the excited moo before she skips and flips her back end as she races to see me.