Sunday, August 28, 2016

A New Calf

Hesston meet Bull Winkle. Bull Winkle meet Hesston. Yes, silly us brought home another calf a few weeks ago. Like we did not have enough to do and two wasn't enough. Some rancher friends called and said they had this calf that his mom had walked off and abandoned at birth. This calf was in pretty bad shape as they did not discover him right away and it had been beastly hot. Did we want him if they put a few days into him and he lived?
Not impressed with Hesston here. We said yes. The plan is to raise Hesston up a bit and sell him. Not long just a few months. Never again will we have Holstein dairy calves for meat unless they are dirt, dirt cheap. Hesston has had a ton of milk put down him and he has grown a great deal. We are now weaning him off the vast amounts of milk and pushing the hay and a slight bit of grain with milk pellets in it. I watch his stools carefully and they are quite loose but not illness diarrhea. They have a bit of an off odor also. I am sure he did not get his colostrum. The fact is calves without colostrum will never do as well throughout their entire lives as calves that have it. Put some probiotics down Hesston yesterday and we shall see what that does. 
I really like the looks of this calf, Bull Winkle. He is an Angus, Semental cross. I just read that semental cattle are from Switzerland and give lots of milk. No wonder I like this calf. Cold breeds iseems to do well for us. Hence, Ellie our heifer which is Brown Swiss and Normande cross and we love her. Hence, we are going back to raising Saanen goats.
Bull Winkle is one sweet calf, laid back in temperament, and the kids love him. Hesston on the other hand has a tendency to kick and we worry that he won't be the gentle soul needed with four young grand daughters in and out of the pens in an almost constant stream.

The trip home with this sweet little tyke was an adventure. We put him into the back of the truck into the cow panel cage Kirk had welded together. Our reasoning was that it was a long journey to pick him up, pulling a trailer would up the costs greatly, and the calf was under a week old. I only thought he would be itty bitty though because he wasn't. He must have weighed a good 85 to 90 pounds. Semmentals do that I guess.
No big deal just a little more to heft into the back of the pickup but on the way home we ran into high winds with driving rain. No way was I going to leave him in the back to get soaked. I could just see myself with another Hesston episode spending a week and a half trying to keep him alive. The next underpass we pulled underneath and in he came with us in the front of the pickup. No, he would not stand between me and the dashboard. With his large size it was rather cramped. He insisted on my lap. He was one HUGE lap dog. Kirk was afraid he was going to try and crawl into his lap while he was driving and panicked every time he wiggled but a little sweet mamma talking and he settle down to sleep, his head draped over the rest between the seats.
My husband just kept rolling his eyes at me in incredulous wonder but Bull Winkle slept that way for over an hour. Occasionally his eyes would drowsily flutter open but soon he'd drift back to sleep. Thirty minutes from home he woke up, promptly peed on me, and it was clear he wanted to move about so into the back he went. It had stopped raining 20 minutes before.
Forgot how much a calf can pee. Not unfamiliar territory as this woman has handled a lot of calves during brandings in her early years but some things fade from ones memory. I do remember coming back to the house with pants that stood up on their own so incrusted with the thick and the thin discharges of the backside.
All worth it as Bull Winkle is doing great and my is he thick. Definitely a keeper for the freezer.   

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