The past few days have been a whirlwind of activity- or so it seems to me. The weather won’t give us a break, and the calves, well they just keeping coming. It’s been bittersweet, these past few days. There’s been lots of bad but you know what? The good always outweighs the bad. Always.
Last Friday afternoon, we got this calf in from the cold and I got to help him dry off, warm up and give him a colostrum pill (Zach’s brother Guthrie was nice enough to take these photos):
That calf later died; but we did our best to get him warm and keep him alive. Sometimes despite our best efforts, it’s just not enough.
Then Wednesday gets here, and I get greeted with this little guy:
And yes, he’s in the bathtub.
We did our best to get him warm and rejuvenated too, but he was born in a snow bank, (remember all the snow?) and we just didn’t get to him in time. He died in our bathroom, peaceful and warm. It always sucks to do what you think is best for these little fellas and then well, it just doesn’t go your way. Sometimes that is just how it is. His mama didn’t ever get to have him suck- but we brought her to the barn yesterday once we got him stable, thinking that we’d have him up and at ’em in no time.
That didn’t work out.
I was just on my first cup of coffee this morning when Bud pulls up and I see a live one on the floorboard beside him. So I’m throwing doors open and grabbing towels excited at the prospect of being able to redeem myself. The poor calf was just so cold. His teeth were chattering in his head, and you could see his chin quivering. Poor baby! First it was snow, then it was rain. Mother Nature just can’t give us a break, I tell you. Bud had had to pull this guy in the pasture, because he had a leg back.
Here’s what he brought me this morning:
Are those white eyelashes not the cutest?
I spent the morning drying him off with a blowdryer and lots of towels. I have washed a lot of towels in the past few days!
It didn’t take but about 30 minutes to get him thawed out and happy. Then the fun started. Bathroom floors are NOT conducive to successfully standing for the first time!
I know, I should probably be helping the little bugger stand up, not taking photos of his futile efforts.
There we’ve caught our balance!
Only to lose it again:
The fact that he even tried to get up is the best sign of all. It means he’s ready to eat!
Struggling made for mud on the walls:
But you know what- all of that mud, and the umbilical cord that was hanging off him, they all clean up. It’s nothing a little bleach and soap won’t fix.
After we were certain he’d nurse we decided to take him down to the barn where the cow (who’s calf died yesterday) was in the calving pen. We wanted to see if she’d take him, and at the very least we needed him to nurse her so we could get his belly full while we went to fetch his real mama.
We’re finally on some ground you can stand up on, eh buddy?
But our legs aren’t all the way sure, are they?
Now we’re at a place where we can help you get your belly full of something warm!
After we let him eat, we decided we’d just put a pen up next to hers to just let her watch him for a bit. And then something awesome happened. She let out a low, soft, bellow like a mama cow will do when she talks to her baby. I got video of the whole thing for y’all.
You can hear her call to him a couple times in this video as well:
It’s such a neat sound and always makes my heart happy. I wanted to share it with you because I know some of you, maybe even most of you, will never get the chance to hear that sound in person. Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me. She’s so cruel and so kind, and sometimes you wonder, as we’re helping that calf find her teats, how does this ever happen in the wild? But it does. And it’s good.
That, my friends, makes the past few days of loss, all worth it. It’s a victory. We’ll take it.