Barnyard Orphan: Angus Calf Raised by Hand on Family Farm
One morning in the barnyard of her family farm, the author finds an orphan calf, and after looking for the mother, decides to raise it herself
This was the $64 question: Out of 64 cows, which one did the orphan calf belong to? If animals could only talk they could have solved the problem.
Last Monday I changed my clothes, locked the kitchen door and started walking toward the barnyard. I was walking slowly because I was meditating on the wise words of an old saying, "Never run. Walk, because as you walk along you'll solve many of your problems before you get there."
When I arrived at the pole barn I leaned against a wooden gate and gazed absentmindedly across the empty barnyard. Something was different; something was wrong. There, in the far corner inside the barnyard, lay a small black object. I climbed over the gate wondering, "What is going on here?" As I walked closer and closer I knew. Sure enough! Curled up into a snug little ball, sleeping in the fresh warm sunshine, lay a newborn black Angus calf.
I went on about my business of fixing the fence. I thought, "Its mother will come and pick it up later." It is quite common for a mother cow to hide her calf for two or three days before she takes it into a big herd.
After a couple of hours passed the calf got up and meandered wobbly to the fence. It stood there looking at me. After finishing my job I left. It was still standing there.
When I returned on the second morning it was still there. I worked around inside the barn. After a while she worked her way up closer to me. I began to wonder, "Where is the mother?" As the day wore on no mother appeared. By late afternoon I was getting concerned.
Later, around 4:00 o'clock, I got on my tractor and drove out to the cornfield, where I hooked the chopper on and attached the empty wagon to it. I drove around and around the field until the wagon was full. I unhooked the chopper and left it in the cornfield. I took the full wagon and hauled it to the pasture for the day's feeding. The herd saw me coming and rushed toward me. I climbed off the tractor, hurriedly unpinned the wagon, very quickly hopped back on the tractor and drove away to avoid being trampled by them. As they circled around the wagon to eat the chopped sudan grass I drove around and around behind them observing them. I did not spot one cow that looked like the eligible mother to the orphan in my barnyard.
"There's no mother here? What is going on?" I pondered. Then I spoke aloud, "It's definitely time for me to do something. That calf is hungry. Time is running out!"
I put a heavy foot on the gas pedal. The tractor took off like a scared rabbit, jarring and bumping me over every stone and the gully all the way home. I hopped off the tractor and into my car.
Remembering the feed store would close at 9:00 o'clock, I knew I had to get there quickly; 20 miles in 20 minutes would be a close call. All I could think of was that the little orphan was dehydrating and getting weaker every minute. She would never make it till morning; I was probably too late now. She could not hold out much longer. They were just ready to lock the door as I pulled up. I ran!