We suffered another loss here on the farm this week, and it left us with our two week old bull calf motherless and our heads spinning. I don't know though, maybe Kaleb and I have finally settled in. We've stopped questioning whether this is some kind of sign or asking all the why's. I think we've come to a place of acceptance, that this is simply life. You will have setbacks and complications, things will not always go as hoped or planned. That's ok though, it's all part of the adventure. We can both say that this time we had fun learning how to cope.
Neither of us knew the first thing about what to do with this calf. In our minds all we saw was a long stretch of bottle-feeding this calf, and it honestly didn't look like the best option for the calf or us. So, with a little advice from a great mentor, we stepped waaaaayyyy outside the box and tried something a little bit different.
First thing we needed to do, was find one of our mamas that had a calf around the same age. Next we narrowed it down to the cow with the best milk supply and overall mothering capabilities. Once our selection had been made, Kaleb used some new found rodeo skills and was able to place large dog collars around both of the calves necks. From there, he hooked a foot of chain between them, so where one went the other had to follow.
I could have watched all day, it was ridiculously entertaining. They would glare at each other, run and pull in opposite directions, be in a total standoff one minute, then buddy up to pester another calf the next. That poor mama was so confused and not one bit pleased, but it didn't take her long to realize that if she was going to nurse her calf, well then, she was going to have to nurse both.
From what we had heard and researched, cows and calfs run mainly off scent, as far as knowing who belongs with who. So, after that new calf got a little of the new mammas milk running thru him, he started smelling more like her own, and gradually she began to accept him. After a few days we let them free, and now that sweet calf has a new mamma, and a brother. It's getting to stay with the herd and grow strong with fresh milk.
It felt great! Learning something new, not accepting the norm but pushing for something better. To not let it bring us down but use it as a positive learning experience, and to have just one minute of success.