Located in Central BC

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Calf Project

Chocolate (CoCo) a jersey cross steer

Matty with Dalmation, Charles and Micro

After years of seeing the ads for holstein day old steers in the Bargain Finder, this year we finally called them up. The net result is that Matty, Petra and Georgina are now feeding 5 calves in the barn, 2 holsteins, 1 jersey x and two orphan black angus bulls. The black angus are mine, the first from "deer cow" who decided last year to jump the fence and get impregnated two weeks early so she had her calf when there was still over two feet of snow on the ground. And then instead of following the sled with her calf on it to the maternity pen, she bolted. Peter tracked her by foot through the thigh deep snow half a mile back, John on skidoo much further back. She returned that night, but the next day wasnt interested in her calf. What a cow!! The second black angus was born rather limp. He managed to flip around and get himself soaked in the mud. Cold, muddy and limp we kept him in the kitchen overnight feeding him a small bit of packaged colostrum that evening. I slept on the couch to keep track of him overnight, and around 3am he started moving around. By the next morning he managed to get up with some help and that evening he stood by himself. At three days we moved him up to the other calves.

Petra with Charles, Georgina in background

So now the girls get up a bit earlier for school and we mix up the milk and carry up the pails to the barn. This time of year the sun is just rising as we head up the hill on the road and we crunch through the icy puddles with Patch and Rio (our dogs) alongside us. Patch is ready to help if there is an errant calf/cow that needs chasing and Rio is happy to help lick the milk out of the pails. At the barn, Petra takes the youngest black angus "coffee" and feeds him his bottles, Georgie helps Matty and passes the pails over the fence to Matty. This is where it gets interesting, Matty's holstein "Charles" is trouble, he's big and piggy. It seems whenever, I peek in the barn to see how they are doing, Matty has her arms around Charles, verbally scolding him and wrestling him away from the other calves milk. Charles laps his milk in a pail, the three others have pails with nipples, the other day when we were looking at the pails we noticed their labels: calf -a pic of a calf- teria. They are calfterias OMG!!

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