Saturday, January 31, 2009

Grafting calves the skinny low down

When you live on a ranch as large as ours you are going to lose calves during calving season. Since we are currently in the middle of calving season we have been dealing with lost calves. Usually when you lose a calf at this ranch you call around to all the other herdsman and ask if they have any orphan calves. Orphan calves are usually 1 part of a twin pair or they had a bad mother. If someone has an orphan or as we call them bottle calves we then go get that calf and bring it to our part of the ranch to graft it on to the cow. Now this is this cows only chance if she does not take this bottle calf or she loses her calf when there are no bottle calves then she is going to the cull pen. We do not keep cows around that don't have a calf on them. Sounds cruel I know, but that is how they do it here and at most successful large ranches. If you look at it in a business mind it is "good business". Lucky for this particular cow today we did have a bottle calf so we proceeded to do the grafting process.
Step one-Put the calf in with the cow

step two-watch to see if cow will except the calf on her own(sometimes this happens most of the time you have to talk the cow into taking the calf)

step three- talk the cow into taking the calf "come on you old hussy you need to take this stinkin calf or you are going to be hamburger"

Step four- if talking doesn't work then you run the cow into a chute

Step five- once in the chute you have a handsome, strong, yummyscrumdidlumpsious gentle man's man coax the calf into grabbing ahold of that teet and going to town! Nothing like watching your husband play with another heifers teets. Except she was not a happy heifer she was a mean heifer. And she was not a heifer, technically neither am I since I have two children but I am Ok with that.

Once the calf sucks the cow for a few days she than begins to smell like the cows milk and the cow and calf live happily ever after.
The one and only happy heifer

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