This Is What You Should Never Do
Two or three months ago, Gramps lost his memory and bought a trailer-load of first-calf heifers (meaning they were young cows expecting their first babies) at the livestock auction. A long time ago, I had done the very same thing, and as Joe Gargery was always saying in Charles Dickens fine novel Great Expectations, “Such larks!”. We had nothing but grief out of that group of heifers I bought. Some crafty rancher had probably dumped those heifers at the auction, expecting some such thing.
Most ranchers run what we call “heifer bulls” with the young cows. These bulls breed, or “throw”, low birthweight calves of 70-80 lbs, which is generally do-able for a first time mama. HOWEVER, sometimes the rancher is a jump behind the times and the wrong bull gets used, or the neighbor’s big, fat slob of a bull with his big, fat head and big, fat shoulders that never knew the meaning of “low birthweight” will plow through the fence and get in with the heifers. That nasty thing of a bull will throw a 120 lb. calf, which is not do-able for most first-calf heifers.
Anyway, after that fiasco, Gramps and I made a pact to only calve out heifers we have raised ourselves and know which bull they have been with. As a result, we’ve had very little trouble with calving until…Gramps lost his memory and bought that trailer-load of first-calf heifers, as I mentioned. Such larks!
But, Hey, Hey, Twins!
One of the heifers Gramps bought had twins, a bull calf and a heifer calf. The cow birthed the first twin just fine, but the second one had its head turned back against its side instead of lying on its front legs in a normal presentation. Gramps had to shove his arm inside the cow and reposition the calf, which is rarely as easy as it sounds. Then the cow retained the afterbirth, so the next day…back inside he went. (below)
Seriously? After All That?
Gramps kept the little family at the barn for several weeks. The young mother took good care of her babies. Everybody was doing good. So Gramps turned them out in a two-hundred acre pasture with the other cows and calves, but he kept an eye on the twins. A week or so later, he found one of the twins–the heifer calf–alone near the barn. The mother–which we will hereafter call Nincompoop–never claimed her again. Then a week or so after that, Nincompoop lost her other twin somewhere. We’ve never been able to find its remains. Coyotes probably feasted on the poor little fella.
We Hope Tulip Isn’t A Nincompoop, Too
So, that is the story of how Tulip, twin two, came to live at the home place where I can make room in my busy schedule to be her mother. Thanks a lot, Nincompoop.
Until next time, thanks so much for reading. God bless all y’all and enjoy The Lewis Family tearin’ up Going Up.
*These artists don’t necessarily endorse my blog, I’ve just loved their music for a long, long time