From Pipi’s Pasture: Seeing the calves off | CraigDailyPress.com

From Pipi’s Pasture: Seeing the calves off

Diane Prather/For Craig Press

We moved the cattle to summer pasture on Sunday, and for once, the animals went into the corral without a fuss, loaded up without much argument and went right through the gate when we got to the pasture. Compare that to this time last year, when the cattle, who had been fidgety for weeks about going to pasture, decided they didn't want to load up when moving day arrived. Then, when they got to pasture, they decided they didn't want to stay there and headed to my brother's corral, where they load up in the fall. What a change.

So now, there are only three cows left in Pipi's Pasture, plus some others in the corral. To be truthful, it seems a little lonely, especially not hearing some of the more vocal cows, like Kitty.

Sunday, the cows and calves didn't take off at a dead run to get through the gate into pasture, like some years, or try to run up or down the county road, so I got to look at the calves one more time before summer starts. (Of course, we check the pasture weekly, but sometimes, the calves are far enough away it's hard to get a good look at them.)

As I watched the calves pass by, I was thinking about caring for them since calving season.

Calf # 92 walked through the gate. He was born early one March morning and was cold enough that he wouldn't get up. We had to haul him into the shop, where he warmed up all day. We fed him, then put him back with Mom, but she had a sore bag and wouldn't let him nurse. So I fed him on the bottle for a few days until one day, when our daughter-in-law Brandi saw him nursing. For several days after that, #92 still drank a bottle twice per day, then one bottle per day, until, finally, he quit coming for a bottle. Now, he is on summer pasture.

Calf #87 also had to spend some time warming up in the shop, but not because he didn't get up when he was born. He spent the night in a water puddle, and the next morning, it was so slick he couldn't get up. We rescued him, and after warming up, he went right back to his mom.

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Kitty's calf was the next one through the gate. I wrote about him when he was born. The first-born of the season, he's a real beauty, the only calf of the bunch to be a light brown-orange color. His owner, our granddaughter Megan, thinks he might be a candidate for a 4-H project.

Among the others is a heifer calf that weighed more than 100 pounds at birth, yet her mom didn't have trouble giving birth. She was born trying to stand up and has been a livewire ever since.

The mothers of two of the other calves decided to hide them for a few days after they were born. One calf wouldn't have it after the second day and ran back to the herd, but the other, a cute little heifer, was told by her mom to "stay put" in the front pasture. (I don't know how they do it, but mother cows do, indeed, somehow tell their calves to "stay put," and they usually do.) So, this little calf stayed in the front by herself; a kind neighbor noticed her and drove in to let us know something might be wrong. I watched these calves go through the gate.

And, there were the other the other calves, too — more memories as I saw the calves off to summer pasture.