Just recently we’ve taken in a young calf who lost his mother. Here is a look into what it is like raising a lost bull calf.
Kimberley first came across this little guy a week ago. It isn’t uncommon to find a calf alone once in a while. The mothers often spend time away grazing; but Kim kept a look out for him and his mother. A day passes and he hasn’t been moved, and we grew concerned.
Day one: Kimberley and Ryan (her son) bring the calf from Cottonwood Spring back to headquarters. I am prepared with warm milk replacer and open arms. This will be my first experience raising a calf, and I am always one to grow a little too attached. When he arrives he has already poo’d on Kim, and is a little wobbly. I have bottle fed kittens, bunnies and such … I suppose you could say I was taken by surprise when he chomped right on the nipple and began sucking like crazy.
Kim showed me the place to rub below his tail and testicles that usually encourages them to urinate and poo. My back started to cramp from the positioning he and I are in for him to feed. We let him fill up, and brought in some left over straw from the barn to make him a bed, and keep him warm.
I wake up and prepare him a bottle; milk replacer and some colostrum and probiotic to give him an extra boost. I can’t help but start to call him Baby Boy, and coo to him while he drinks. I’ve learned the hard way that naming and growing attached to wild creatures tends to break my heart … but I can’t really give half my attention or attachment to the little guy.
The downside of being a cattle ranch, is there really is no room to take in all the cutest as pets. He is a bull calf, and therefore has a purpose. Be that as it may, he is already fairly spoiled by me.
Day Three: He isn’t responding as quickly as we’d like, nor is he walking around as he was yesterday and he has a high temperature. I call up Kim and let her know what is going on. I struggle to get him to eat at all and he seems very lethargic. All those other babies I’ve taken care of prepared me for this. He needs to go potty. And guess what? That does the trick! He empties his stomach and fills it right up with some good milk. There is a risk of pneumonia, but at least his spirits are up. When Kim arrives not only does she have some well needed advice, but also a few homeopathic remedies for pneumonia. When using homeopathic remedies, you cannot touch the pellets and they must stay in the mouth for the fullest affect.
*side note* While traveling South America with Ryan, we used homeopathic remedies for various symptoms and for treatment for our Border Collies and horses while at home* You should see results of the remedies within a few hours, if not, give another dose. After a few more hours, it either works or does not. For my lil’ guy, it did. The next time I came by, a few hours later, he saw me with the bottle and bounced right up. So far his temperature is slowly lowering to a steady 101.5, and he seems very lively.
He is doing well today, I’m getting him to move around and come to me when it’s time to eat. *Updated*
He has found a loving home with a friend of ours who has a milk cow - He will nurse off of her, and help keep her supplying their family :)