“Did you hear what those baby calves are bringing at the sale barn?”
Numerous times in the past few weeks that comment has been overheard in the ranch crowd.
Follow-up responses are interesting.
“I remember when we sold our calves at weaning for way less than that.”
Than another: “It sure seems easier to get up and go check those heifers in the middle of the night, when her calf is going to be worth more than what I used to get for a whole month’s wages.”
Those and more remarks made us reflect some of the situations that have arisen during more than five decades with a cowherd.
Even wetter behind the ears then, we had an old Hereford in the lot taking her own sweet time birthing. She’d done it maybe a dozen times, but we knew nothing about such things really, became impatient, and called the veterinarian, who arrived in short order.
Of course, momma had already done her thing, and a big whiteface was on a breakfast plate, while mummy’s long curled slobbering tongue dried his damp fluffy redcoat. Doc grinned: “You have to give Nature some time.”
Never forgot that, but then there have been occasions when too much patience has been too long. Still, our knowledge of such things is shy compared to others looking after the cows here.
Essential to pay the bills, we’ve often put foster calves on a cow that didn’t have one of her own for some reason. Dilemma is locating a replacement.
Almost impossible nowadays, but many adoptive calves originated from dairies. Typically that worked out, because the big strong babies knew how to nurse, and fought for their supper.
Surrogate mamas generally didn’t care for those rambunctious, strange-colored milk-robbers.
But, after a few demanding words, and occasionally other persuasion, the youngens soon became their own.
Reminds us of Jeremiah 14:5: “Yes, even the cow gives birth to her calf in the field and forsakes it.” Thus, Second Peter 1:5: “For this very reason, adding your diligence, employ your energy to be a nursemaid.” Because, First Corinthians 10:24: “Our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.” Then, Philippians 1:10: “So that you sense what is vital, approve and prize what is excellent and of real value recognizing the highest and the best.”