Tag Archives: baby
The shit my Dad has been giving me lately, about not having kids, is reaching rather remarkable proportions. Why, you ask. Because our new neighbors have one of the cutest little boys, ever. Wyatt is 3, soon to be 4. His Parents, Megan and Jared, moved next door to our summer ranch in the mountains and I just got to meet them this spring.
I was already a fan of these neighbors before I even met them because they wanted pigs. They had some of my heritage pork last summer and knew they need to raise their own. This just tickled me because, as you all know, promoting heritage pork is one of my pet projects. The first time I met them in real life was when I delivered 5 pigs to their house. Since then our pig plans have grown, but that’s for another post.
They’ve been a huge help around the ranch, we tend to get really excited about that. My Dad and I both have really enjoyed getting to know them, and hanging out with Wyatt, which has lead to my Dad’s grandpa fever. I’ll even admit, Wyatt is starting to even make me think about dating again (DO NOT TELL MY DAD I SAID THAT!).
As I mentioned before, Wyatt has a birthday coming up, so it was decided that he needed something special. Something that he could grow with, teach him stuff and maybe eventually make some money from (you know, for school). Obviously, the answer was a little heifer bottle calf.
We always end up with a few bottle babies every year, some we sell to neighbors that need to graft a calf and sometimes I keep them to sell as a beef. We started looking for just the right calf for Wyatt, one that would make a good cow in a few years. She also needed to have a nice attitude. We had a poor old cow die during birth, it does happen once in a while. The little heifer that was born, that now had no mama, was sweet and calm, perfect for the birthday boy. Wyatt named his calf, Sally.
It’s important to my family that we expose kids to production agriculture. We know we live a unique existence and we want to share that with people that have an interest in what we do. We’re also being terribly selfish because in just a few short years, Wyatt is going to be amazing help on the ranch!
Wyatt is going to feed this baby all summer. When we move down to the valley she is going to come down with the rest of the cows and enjoy a mild winter with lots of grass. Next year when it’s time for Sally to have a bullfriend, we’ll make sure that happens so Wyatt can expand his herd.
We’re excited to watch Wyatt and Sally grow up together. We can already see it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship and hopefully a long line of black angus cows and delicious meat!
It’s that time of year again. Calving season. Inevitably we always end up with a bottle calf or two. It’s actually a good thing because if we have a calf die (it does happen, no matter what), we can give the Mama cow a new baby, thus keeping that cow productive (that is her only job on the Ranch, to raise a healthy baby calf). If you want to know more about calf grafting please read this blog I wrote about it last year.
In this calf’s case, she was born a twin. Typically with commercial beef cattle, you tend not to let them raise twins. If we had a nice little dairy barn and a lot of extra time to play with the cow and twins, we might consider it, but in this case we like having a replacement calf. Because this heifer is a twin with a bull calf, there is about an 90% chance she will be a freemartin. A freemartin means she will never be able to conceive a calf – for more Ranch terms check out this blog.
This baby was born yesterday and did spend time with her Mama, meaning she got to suck some colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk expressed my the Mama cow, the milk is high in antibodies that will protect the calf. Since she was still under 24 hours old when I got her, I decided to give her another little shot of it. We want healthy babies on this ranch! Healthy babies equal a healthy, happy herd!
I’m very careful to heat the colostrum on the oven, so I can make sure it doesn’t get too hot and pasteurize itself. Also I don’t want to burn the little baby!
Growing up here on the ranch, it was often my job to care for the bottle babies and the sick pen. I got really good at doctoring dehydrated calves and teaching the new ones to suck. It is one of my favorite jobs on the ranch because calves are stinking cute and I love to make things feel better. In fact, I got so good at bottle babies one of mine ended up getting reserve grand champion at our local fair, something “they” said couldn’t be done.
I have this new baby for a while, until my Dad needs a replacement. What should I name her? If you are a local and I select your name as her name, I’ll give you a pound of our grassfinished hamburger (it’s so good grilled for burgers!). What do you think???