We need a calf now! ( part 2 of Bessy's story)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

...I'm so sorry that I left it hanging here after the last post ~ I've had so many people ask how Bessy is going & I thank you for your kind concern.  Here is the next part of the story....

While it was still dark in the wee hours of Monday morning we began planning what to do after the sad loss of Bessy's little calf.  We knew there was a cattle auction at the big city an hour away on Mondays so we decided to attempt to get her a baby to replace her stillborn one ~ although we are excited about milking here, we really didn't want to have to be locked into the twelve hour milking  for the next year until my other cow ( oh yes, I haven't mentioned her have I ??!!??) dropped her calf.  First thing in the morning Dave checked & we found the calf auction was at 11am.

We bundled the family into the van & left.  Now here I'm going to add that we really didn't think it through very well ~ account that to tiredness~ we remembered how very small Bessy was when we brought her home to Sunnyside & how the stock crate looked ridiculous with such a little animal inside.  Needless to say ~ we were tired.  So we took everyone in the van.

The cattle auction was so much fun.  We were able to take the children into the ring where they auction off the older cows & they were able to see what happens ( don't scratch your nose though ;).  Then the calf auction started.  I must admit I fell in love with a little Murray Grey heifer with long, long eyelashes.  There were a couple of other tiny ones I would have taken home in a heartbeat, but being married to a practical man, he talked to our stock agent & they decided that about a  2 week old beef calf was the best ~ old enough to have had a good start, but young enough to take to a new mother.  Since the aim of this was to provide meat for our family, I had to agree.   We gave the agent our budget & he jumped in & bidded for us ~ we were able to get the calf we had our eye on for less than we were hoping to spend!

So we had our calf  & we had to get him into the back of the van ( oh yes ~ can you believe it ~ I still can't). Thankfully our car has a rather large back area & it's all vinyl, so easy to clean.  We certainly underestimated the strength of a calf though.  This little fellow was awfully strong & he was also adament he wasn't going into the car.  He fought & fought us ~ in fact Dave had to tackle him on the bitumen because had he got away at that point who knows where he would have ended up?   Eventually we got him into the car ( still can't believe we did that ~ there is nothing wrong with a stock crate on the back of a ute).  For the first 20 minutes out of town he fought the whole time.... his hooves would appear over the back seat & the children were too scared to sit there so we put them in the front & Dave sat in the back & tried to calm him down.  He seemed to throw himself from side to side so that the whole van would rock.  Finally he must have decided that fighting was doing no good because he settled down much to our relief.

Now here's where the van plan really fell apart ~ you see we completely forgot that cows smell.  I mean we know that, but it's not until you are in a confined space with one for a period of time that you realise COWS REALLY, REALLY SMELL..... needless to say it was a long, stinky trip home with people feeling sick and the fan on as high as it would go.  I think I really got the better job of driving because I'm sure I wouldn't have handled the back seat with the cow just behind .   I've since cleaned out the whole van & we aired it for a couple of days fully open ( so that my chickens decided to go for a walk in it ~ so thankful for vinyl flooring) ~ and still the smell is lingering every time we get in.

After over an hour in the car, we finally arrived at  Sunnyside. We managed to get Bessy up into a tiny temporary yard area that we made by putting a gate across the front of one of the sheds in her paddock. We gently let the calf out & put him into the pen & waited for the 'magic' to happen.

Well it happened alright....Bess took one look at that calf & she went wild.  There was no way the calf was going near her & she let him know it ~ with her horns.  She thrashed around & around & around and the poor calf was terrified.  We tried tying her up, but he still wouldn't go near her even when we put him right at her udder.  We were getting more & more disheartened worrying that we'd have to feed the calf & still milk Bessy twice a day.  We left them for a while only to return & find them still non compatible.  Everyone was upset & we were wondering if our hastily made decision to replace her baby was a complete & utter failure?....
All cow & calf photos in this post by Ellie ~ I was just too tired to get photos at that point!

I will try to not leave the rest of the story lingering quite as long ~ it's just too long to put into one post ~ sorry !


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