The Save

Heifer calf #126 was born early in the morning of December 11, 2011.  Her Dad was a Charolais bull – Cooley Smart Choice 7049 and her Mom was 5 year old commercial Brangus cow #582.  When the calving starts, we are in our pastures day and night checking cattle – especially young heifers that are having their first calf.  But this was not the first calf for #582.  We made our rounds and noted that she was in labor.  It was a little over an hour before she delivered.  Labor was not especially difficult, but the calf was big.  Mom began her work – cleaning – “talking” to it – nudging it to get up and get started on the milk.  Mom’s first milk – colostrum – is critical in the life of the calf and the calf must have received it in the first several hours for a healthy start.  The colostrum is filled with antibodies that protect the calf against certain infections and is higher in Vitamin A than normal milk.  Everything appeared normal so we left.  It really is best to leave them alone so the cow can take care of business.  And as my vet says – “they need to start loving each other”.  Now remember – the ranch normally runs 500 head of Mother cows so our rounds take time during the calving season.  So we left and moved on to another pasture.  It appeared #582 had all under control and would have her baby up nursing on schedule.  And she did – and it did get its first colostrum.

By the evening though, #582 was bellowing repeatedly.  Something was wrong.  She was standing over her calf and it would not get up.  I tried to rouse the calf – but the calf was curled up in a deep sleep – no activity.  The calf was so big that it had exhausted itself in the birthing process.  Now, we had to go to work to save it.  It had gotten dark and cold.  I came back to the house for a large calf bottle with a warm mixture of colostrum, proteins, live microbials, electrolytes and vitamins.  Then Gary and I went back to the pasture with the warm milk mixture.

There is another little problem.  The cow is very protective and can take on a “killer” instinct to defend her baby.   It is hard to communicate to the cow that you are trying to save the baby.  And since I have yet to meet my first “cow whisper” – I keep my guard up.   My cows are docile but I start talking to the cow from the time my pick-up door swings open.  So not only do I need the head lights of the truck – I need that truck for my escape if necessary.

#582 wanted our help.  That calf was huge and I had a hard time in my strength getting the calf lifted enough to put it in a position to suck the bottle.  And it takes work to get them to suck.  This night #582 was right there with me – head on my shoulder – then sniffing the calf – then “lowing” in a pleading manner for the calf to get up and suck.  Finally – it started taking the bottle.  It is always a great moment when the calf starts responding – stands up – and Mom takes over.

Today heifer calf #126 weighs about  600 pounds.  She is a great calf.  It is all in a day’s work but we rest a lot easier when God grants us the save!!

By | 2017-04-25T23:03:27+00:00 June 26th, 2012|"The Girls" - Cow Work, At the Ranch|6 Comments


  1. Judy Morey July 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful slice of life on the ranch. I would say you earned your frist “cow whisperer” badge that night!

  2. Bear Dalton June 27, 2012 at 5:22 am - Reply

    Super-mom. Good Job Linda.

    • Linda June 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Bear. Most of all – thanks for following the blog and ridin’ along with us!!

  3. Jeannette Spivey June 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    That is just the most sweetest story. Mama cow trusted you to do the right thing by her baby. You are amazing.

  4. Jayne Ann June 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    I love your blogs….please keep them coming. I had a great weekend watching how you operate your ranch.

    Getting drinched while covering the feed, watching you scare off the buzzards, listening to the stories and the words of wisdom!!! It was all wonderful…..I loved EVERY minute. Can’t wait to do it again soon!!

  5. peggi pietsch davis June 26, 2012 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    Galayda, you slay me…I am in total awe of what you are doing. I keep up with you through Beverly. You are amazing!

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