My baby calves are happily doing great. We had a few scary days when the littlest of our ‘famine babies’ wouldn’t stand up. I mixed her a bottle of electrolytes, and had to practically carry her back to her corral. Seeing our prayers and research and work was having no effect we called our ranching neighbor (the same one who gave us a cow anatomy lesson on the first day). He checked out her scours, her runny nose and cough and kindly gave her a shot of something. The next day she was up. Yah!! We named her Star. She is sweet and docile (or young and sick). The medium calf is Daisy. She got a shot too. The biggest girl was doing fine, we named her Oreo at first but changed it to Cookie.
Cookie is very scared of us and only comes near when we have grain or milk. I make sure I pet her lots while she eats. Cookie drinks from the bucket which makes feeding time easier but it makes me wonder if I should get her to suck a bottle just so I can get her closer to me. She is gaining well on her milk and feed. Cookie looks like she is about 8 weeks old at least but her sucking reflex is definitely strong since she tries sucking on Stars ear all the time. Yesterday I saw it bleeding. I don’t want to separate the calves so I really hope it stops.
Daisy is learning to come as soon as she sees the bottle. She acts ravenous all the time, but has actually started loosing her ‘skin and bones’ look. I have upped all their milk rations and even added an egg to one of the bottles. It is going to cost me more, and I really wonder how healthy milk replacer is, but they are so hungry all the time I couldn’t resist. I feed them three times a day, let them eat grain (Daisy does pretty good) and graze all day on pasture and hay. She is still young, I am guessing only 6 weeks old, but a little pushy-I had to tap her on her nose yesterday for bumping me. I don’t know it does/or did any good but I had to try. The las thing I want is a 1200 lb cow coming and bumping me for more food.
Star is so cute. We all love her. She comes when she sees us. She lets us brush and comb her. She is also the sickest. For some reason Star hasn’t gained any weight. Her tail is still caked in poop and I am not sure if she still has scours or if it just hasn’t washed away. She always has slime in her nose and coughs. She is eating well though, and walking around so I am hopeful she will live. I have scoured (as in searched diligently) the internet for information about how to keep her alive. I am trying to carefully try what I learn (since I don’t want to do more harm with my good intentions). I want these calves to be as happy and healthy as they can no matter what happens to them (I don’t think I will keep them because I really want Miniature cattle).
I struggle with knowing what to do. I wish I had a nurse cow to feed them real milk, instead of cow formula. Having nursed my own seven little ones, I can’t help but feel maternal towards these sweet little creatures. It is incredible to me because I never realized how real animals were until I started working with them. Before, they were things that improved the view and a nice idea. Now that I have some of my own, I can not express how much I love them. They remind me of my own helpless little ones and I want to make life as good for them as I can, and it is a pleasure to do so. I love feeding and tending them (way better than cleaning my house) that I actually offered to take two of my bishops orphaned calves and bottle feed them for him. My kids as well, they love petting, feeding and leading them around. I see a depth of joy in our family that we never had before and it is beautiful to behold. I don’t know when the novelty will wear off (about the time the weather gets cold) but until it does I want to enjoy every minute of it!