Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bubbles + This Cow = White Calf

This afternoon I was up planting some plants in the pool when I noticed a cow down in the pasture with a very wobbily legged white calf trying to get it's act together. Last year we had this calf born which I found kind of surprising. I wasn't quite as surprised this time, and probably won't be at all the next time. Last years calf ended up growing horns, which is also unusual for our largely polled (genetically hornless) cattle, so I will be interested to see what this one does. I can hardly wait until next year to see if I hit the white calf trifecta.

In other interesting bovine related news, a week or so ago when I got to the barn in the morning there was a dead newborn calf laying in the Cow Shed East. That is the shed where my young cattle spend there winter, so there should not have been anything that was old enough to have been bred. A year of age is really about the earliest that we would expect a heifer to start coming into heat, and if left to their own devices they generally won't calve for the first time until close to their second birthday, which would put their breeding age at about 15 months. The heifer that delivered this calf was only about 14 months old, and the calf was fully formed, so it seems that somehow she got bred at about 5 months. I hate to have lost the calf, but I am really happy to have not lost the heifer as well. She seems to have bounced right back from it. As you can see from the picture, she (number 5) is still pretty tiny compared to a mature cow.