the moments that create my life

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Just over two weeks ago, on a super cold and snow blanketed morning, we got the sweetest little surprise. He actually wasn't very little at all! Due to some unfortunate circumstances that my dad had on his cattle farm, we got the opportunity to love on and raise our first calf. His mama had prolapsed after giving birth and, obviously wasn't able to recover. So, my dad loaded him up in the floorboard of the truck and brought him over to us.

Trey loaded up and drove the icy roads to gather all of our calf care supplies. We had no bottles, buckets or 'formula' for him...and we needed them pretty quickly! While he was gone, I loaded up our enclosed trailer with hay, heat lamps and began blocking out the cold and wind.

We think that he was able to get some of the first milk which is called colostrum (just like in humans!) so he was in pretty good shape when he got here. We went ahead and gave him some colostrum with his first two feedings, just to be on the safe side.

As soon as the kids saw that he is, in fact, a he, they began the great name debate. The obvious first choices were Ferdinand and Valiente, based on their love of the Ferdinand movie. Ferdinand evolved into "Ferdinand X" (Hess' choice) but all of those choices were scratched based on the potential popularity of bulls named Ferdinand! Bandit and Ranger became the front runners. We settled on Ranger. (Think: the Lone Ranger, red Power Ranger, etc.)

Ranger is now just a bit over a week old and doing great! He had a little bought with diarrhea over the first couple of days, but that is to be expected. We thickened his milk just a bit and gave him a small dose of some medicine to help prevent him getting worse. If not treated or handled properly and quickly, the calf could really get into bad health because of diarrhea.

He is almost like a puppy, except that he weighs over a hundred pounds. He follows us around in the yard and loves to run and jump around. We haven't decided on his exact future. Of course, our general thought is that anything that is bottle fed does not become food. The initial hope is that we will be able to get a companion and breed them with the intention of using the offspring for meat. We could also use him as a sire bull for other herds. Only time will tell though as we watch him grow.

The kids have loved having him around, helping feed him and NOT mucking his trailer! We are so excited to watch him grow and (fingers crossed!) start our own mini herd. 

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