An Angel Buddy

Angel Graduates to the Front Porch

June 7, 2016

Until you start writing things down you do not realize how much actually happens in a day. Take yesterday, Monday. I decided, come what may, I was getting a buddy for Honda. I really wanted a heifer calf to raise as a milk cow. I went up to the auction and met up with some friends there. My niece is bold enough to go behind the scenes and check out calves. Usually there is a break between “junk” and “stock.” There was so much junk being sold and chickens I was not able to sneak back with her. She said there was only three heifers. I wanted a Jersey, which are hard calves to bottle raise. You sneeze on them and they will fall over dead. Though everyone said if a chicken gets an open wound they’ll die of infection. I have two that prove the theory wrong. I’m not grossing anyone out with chicken injuries.

We sat through all the auction stuff, which reminds me I have to get the onion sets and the rhubarb out of my truck. I’m going to soak the rhubarb and see if I can’t get some roots to grow. I was interested in the pheasant chicks but they went for too much. Finally we got to the calves. I’m trying to listen to this auctioneer and if you have ever been to one of these events it’s quite fast. There were forty calves this go around. No beef calves at all so I was going to have to settle for a dairy. I did not want to loose out on a buddy for Honda. The prices were high but not like earlier in the year. This bull calf came trotting into the lot, head up, perky, and full of life. He looked about the size of my calf so I bid on him and got him. They push the little guy out faster than he came in. My niece ribs me, “That’s a heifer. Someone tagged her wrong.” I bid.

I asked, “Is that the one you said was laying back there sick?” I inquired and bid again. The little calf was adorable with its marble markings. She weighed sixty pounds. Probably less. She looked to be a Jersey-Holstein cross maybe. You can never tell as fast as this stuff goes.

My niece hesitated, “She was just a little dehydrated I think. She didn’t have any scours on her.”

I bid again, “The tag is on its backside not its head. The auctioneer called it a bull calf.”

“It’s not a bull,” my niece insisted. “Trust me it’s a heifer.”

I eyed her and bid again, “If it’s a bull it’s yours.”

Now wouldn’t you know someone else must have known what my niece knew. I ended at fifty cents a pound higher than what I was willing to pay. She was mine. Had I seen her in the back, sick, I would not have bought her, honestly. Had i known she was sick I would not have stuck around another half hour watching the bull calves go through.

When my niece’s friend brought out the calf her tongue was hanging out. He put her on the hot bed of the truck and I was instantly mad. I said to him, “Get her off the back of the truck and into the cab with me. She won’t make it home back here.”

I spun the carrier around with the bull calf in it and my niece helped me ratchet it down. As soon as I was in the truck my foot hit the accelerator and I was literally in a race to save the calf’s life. Looking at her rolled eyes she needed sugar, corn syrup. I was angry with myself for forgetting the bottles and the syrup at the house. I was definitely regretting it. I talked to the new girl and tapped her with my empty pop bottle at every red light to keep her from sinking completely into shock. I know it sounds rude but she was out of my arms reach and I was driving.

As soon as I got in the drive I ran in, cleared the bathroom floor, and got the hubby. He was not happy I purchased a dead calf. I was pretty sure at this point that is exactly what I had done. I got her in my arms, dead weight, head hanging, and barely made it into the bathroom. Nurse Lass had gotten underfoot and nearly spilled us all. As soon as I put her down the little thing pooped yellow water. She had scours and in the advanced stage.

I found the corn syrup and rubbed it all over her gums. The calf suckled on my fingers which I was not expecting. The hubby drove the other calf to the pen where Honda was. He came back as I dabbed more syrup around the calf’s gums. Her tongue was pale and she was about ninety percent crow bait. I left her long enough to secure the new calf.

I pulled up my website and picked from my arsenal of advice. It is why I made the page on calves in the first place. My memory is terrible. My daughter dug out the heating pad, and armed with ideas we set to work. Dehydrated calves get cold so I put a heating pad under their gut, closer to the heart. The body can then focus on other things.

We gave her, over a course of an hour, two quarts of re-sorb which I thought I was going to have to tube. the calf managed to swallow everything in a metal feeding syringe. I gave her egg white in one dose, scour halt in another, vitamins in another and two packages of Knox Gelatin in two separate doses. In the morning I found a diarrhea bolus and chopped it up and added this to her twelve ounce glass of resorb. By afternoon she was lifting her head and we graduated her to the front porch. Tonight she rests under a heat lamp and we are finishing up two quarts of Save-a-calf formula just for pneumonia and scours. I also gave her a B-12 shot and a dose of LA 200 to keep the pneumonia out of her.

It’s been a long forty-eight. We had to go up and get medicines in town plus all the farm chores. I mowed around the little trailer court and the bigger lot we are purchasing from the neighbor’s. I should be excited, but, I am not. It is going to take a lot of work and time to get the rundown trailer ready so my daughter can stay in it. I wish I could wave a wand and it was done. I do not even want to guess what we are up against. There is a piece of plywood on the roof if that says anything. We’ll see.

6-8-16 The hubby woke me up to tell me the baby moo was standing up and bellowing for breakfast. Considering I did not get to bed until nearly midnight, moo was going to be extra hungry by seven. I woke, stumbled out of bed and sure enough the moo alarm was going off with nurse Lass wagging her tail like I needed to take care of the problem immediately. “Do you mind if I get coffee first?” I asked her. Her reply was to sit and stare at me patiently. Critters. While the coffee perked I went about fixing the bottle. The cats were meowing. I truly hate having cats inside at all because of the damage they cause. That is a sore thorn between the hubby and I. We will not go there.

I had me an idea this calf was sold because she did not want to latch on. So far I had not been able to get her to truly suck even my fingers. From experience, this could take a few days to get her to actually suck from the bottle. Armed and ready out the door we went to be greeted by a hungry bellow. Trust me, I was thinking we were burying this animal when I dragged her into the bathroom on Monday. That possibility was still very real. The air was damp and chilling. I had put a heat lamp out and I would keep it on all day. It was my luck the temp was going to drop for the next couple of nights. I might even run a lamp out to the other calf pen. The newest one was no older than a week old. If my daughter put a bed of hay as deep as I told her to Honda and the new calf should be fine. That forty-seven degree has me a bit worried. Without a big mother cow to radiate heat it is tough on the little guys. Once they get to be about a year old minus the unforeseen the cows seem to do well on their own. It’s pneumonia and pink-eye I have to constantly watch for. That reminds me, I have to put a cow rub up for them to get rid of those nasty flies. We did a head count on Sunday and it is amazing how fast the cattle’s appearances changed. I almost did not recognize them.

I looked down at my little dairy calf and sighed. “Okay, round forty-two- ding.” She lay there, her soft eyes looking at me. I am a sucker for those lovely eyelashes. On her forehead is her angel mark. As she grows how long it will stay there, who knows. I slipped my fingers in her mouth to see if I could get her to suck on them. After a minute she had the idea but when it came to the nipple she was having none of it.

For about five minutes we struggled, her tongue trying to push the nipple out of her mouth. “Not, yet, huh?” Going back inside I cracked an egg white into the heavy glass then added some vitamins and Save-A-Calf formula. Out we went and down the hatch with some feisty resistance using the metal syringe. Hopefully my niece is reading this and apologizing for suckering me into this calf. Of course, who knows where this little girl would have landed and if those people would have known how to do what she needed. She was one step from an IV bag and that I would not know how to do. I’m not a nurse. Sad thing is, there are no vets that will help with these calves in my area. It’s all pets. We have one mobile vet which can take a week to get out here. The next time she is out I’m going to ask her about IV supplies because my niece knows how to do it. Nope, I hate needles, hate giving shots, and it is the one thing I will pay someone else to do. Only if I am totally desperate and alone will I try it, and God help the critter.

Well, that’s over. Time for another cup of coffee and to make the other calves bottles. Guess I should mow my own lawn and weed eat around the garden. Got two windows to replace if no rain is in the forecast. Looks like the tip of the storm hitting my daughter is just missing us, causing the damp morning. My other daughter lives near Harrisburg. Sure wish my books would take off so I could buy her a nice little house and get her back out here. She would come in a heartbeat. Patience. It’s all about patience.

I’m having to get my mind set on the Flea Market idea. It’s not going to go anywhere but at least all the extra stuff that is laying around will get sold. I’ll probably end up selling the trailer and maybe fixing up my old truck with the cap on it and just selling books out of it. I wanted to get into designing T-shirts, plaques, hand bags and cups. I got some really cool farm designs. With all the repairs and machine purchases I doubt I get to get the business idea off the ground and when am I suppose to find the time? I still have to get the changes to my web pages uploaded before I start handing out bookmarks to the general public. Just advertising is hard work.

Well, nurse Lass is asleep at my feet and it’s time for the Doc to go make rounds in her bunny slippers drinking coffee. lol.

6-9-16 Bottle Baby

At five this morning the whole neighborhood was awakened by a hearty “moooooo.” It was very hungry little mooo that demanded an immediate fix to the problem. Yesterday, in front of company, my tiny little moo decided to give us all a gift. She pooped the smelliest pile of tan jelly. Everyone looked at me really strange when I clapped my hands and said, very excited, “Good girl.” Then I had to explain that it was her first solid poo in three days. As I hurried to clean up the present I further told them that she now had more than a fifty-percent chance of living. Then they were a little more excited and very glad as the stinky present was quickly disposed of. Guess this will hurry the hubby to fix the power washer to clean the cement porch. He-he-he- evil chuckle.

As I pour my coffee and heat Angel’s milk it occurred to me to get it on film. She’s mooing her little heart out. So here’s the video. Believe me, I’m very happy at the end, no more syringe feedings! Hooray! She finally gets the bottle idea and we are both happy!

Link coming…got to figure out U-tube. Yah. This could take a minute.

Author: cynthia queen

Living on a small farm just three miles short of the West Virginia border I am kept extremely busy with writing, working part time, remodeling our rental mobile homes and running the farm. I lived most of my life on the New York border in the Tyoga County backwoods. Our family has known nothing but hardship and scraping by. I bought this farm with the intent of bringing my family to a better place. In 2015 my daughter joined the farming fun. In 2016 Mom and my two brothers made it to the farm. I am hoping my writing will begin to supplement the income and make homesteading a reality for all of us. Now, to get my other daughter to come home and we'll have the whole family here.