Will the real Malcom, please stand up!

August 3rd brought an early morning filled with twists, turns and deceptions. What began as a quiet night, was soon interrupted by dogs barking. This is not unusual, given the high predator load of coyotes. But tonight was different as we were soon to find out. At about 3 am after calling in the dogs in twice, Poppi was persistent and demanding, letting us know that something was definitely wrong. She was displaying behavior that was beyond her normal vies for attention. We humored her and went out to see what was the matter.

I, on the deck still in my pjs watched and listened in the pitch black as the cattle mooed in distress. Troy was already in his pickup headed out to where they had gathered in the pasture. I heard yelling, more commotion and dogs going berserk. Then Troy came flying back to the house yelling for help and all I heard was ” donkey has a calf down”. I threw on some clothes over my pjs and slid some boots on and we drove out to find Manny on top of a calf, pawing and biting at it. The horses along with a few of the horned cattle were attacking the donkey trying to get him away. Troy managed to get Manny into another pen and I hopped the fence to get to the calf.

At first glance over the fence, I thought it was Fiona, the fluffy little highland heifer. But after I got to the calf, lying motionless, it looked darker and I thought it was Whitney, the High-Dex heifer calf. She had blood coming out of her nose and was breathing heavily, but didn’t seem to have anything broken or any major wounds. Still, she wouldn’t move or try to get up.

The strange thing was that Marigold was being protective of the calf and even bumped Troy with her horn to move him back. She was licking the calf and being so sweet to it. I couldn’t find Whitney’s mom, Mariah anywhere (black cow, dark as sin out) so we hunted for her to see if maybe she was injured. We couldn’t find her but hadn’t checked the whole pasture.

I decided to call the vet and get some advice. Dr. Fanning had me mix up some aspirin to give to the calf. I added a few of my super secret hokey pokey potions to it and took it out to give to “Whitney”. I also mixed up a mash to see if she would eat. When I put the mash in front of the calf, it tried to get up but was very wobbly. I then tried to give Marigold some and as she turned around, I could see that her back end was messy. I looked at the calf with my flashlight…..LIGHTBULB!!! This was a new, very large calf! And it was Marigold’s! We didn’t think she was pregnant, being so much taller than the bulls. And the kicker…when I looked more closely, I saw it was a bull calf!

Things were starting to make a lot more sense at this point. The ruckus started with Marigold giving birth. Donkey saw a foreign body in the pen and went after it to protect the herd. Marigold was protecting her baby. The blood and mucus were because the calf was recently born. It was lying still because it hadn’t stood yet (which along with the fact that it was much bigger than the other calves at birth probably saved it’s life). Mariah was with her daughter, the real Whitney, and was just fine.

So that’s the tale of how Fiona became Whitney who became Malcom, a beautiful big highland bull calf. Mama Marigold and son are doing great. I love happy endings!

Published by gnp3farms

A regenerative ag farm.

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