The Calf In My Kitchen & Contest Results!

After two weeks of calm and balmy weather, a blizzard blew in last night.  The temperature was already low when MC and I drove around at 5:30pm checking the cows and their calves, and it was still dropping, with a stiff wind adding to the chill.  We saw a young cow that had just calved (birthed), and though the calf was up and standing, the mother hadn’t licked her completely dry.  The calf was trying to suckle but was hunched up and shivering in the cold.

We left the pair alone and came back about an hour later and still, the calf was wet and obviously very, very cold.  We put the calf in a pannier bag and slowly slowly dragged it behind the truck like a sled, toward the sheltered corrals, where the calf would be out of the wind and able to bed in the fresh straw we had just put down.  But the mother didn’t follow her calf.  We tried several times to shoo her towards her baby but, as she had done from nearly the moment of birth, she ignored it.

This is not out-of-the-ordinary behavior for young mothers, sometimes they just don’t know what they need to do to make sure their calves survive.  On a warm afternoon, it might not have even been an issue.  But if the calf had stayed out last night, unattended and wet as it was, it would have frozen to death.  So, MC scooped up the calf and put her on my lap in the pickup and I took her home with me.

She was shivering so hard on my lap, and didn’t stop for 40 minutes.  I placed her (she was a newborn baby that weighed in at about 75 pounds!) on a plush rug in front of my woodstove and then sat on the ground with my legs wrapped around her and a down puffer coat covering both of us to keep the body heat in.  I rubbed her and rubbed her with a towel and my hands until her coat was dry, then held each hoof in my hands for as long as it took for the hoof to warm.  That was when she finally stopped shivering.  I had some fresh milk which I warmed for her and she gobbled that down, and then she slept.

Eli came in around 9:30pm and when he caught sight of the calf sleeping on the floor he gave me a look that said, “OH, no.  Please tell me you’re joking.” Charlie and Chloe spent the night in the main room, away from the calf.  The calf woke up and wobbled around a few times during the night looking for more milk, and so I lay with her and pet her till she settled down and fell back to sleep.

This morning we reunited the calf with her mother, who was mooing for her baby and wandering around looking for it, and after a few minutes of sniffing and prodding, the mother accepted her baby and the baby plugged onto a teat and drank and drank and drank.  And they’ve been out in the sun in the pasture together today, never out of eachother’s sight.  A life saved and a happy ending!

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And now for the contest results.  After doing my best I narrowed it down to thirty.  But then I had to narrow it down to one!  That was HARD.  And I have a list of shout-outs written down beside me here but I am beside myself with weariness from not sleeping last night, so I’ll just post the winner for now…

Mimi, I chose yours.  “Counting Sheep” ~ it’s clever, sweet, perfectly descriptive and carries a hilarious double-meaning.  I love it in every way.

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