Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Secret report

In answer to questions in my comment section yesterday... yes, we have Secret here at home now. 

I used to raise baby calves, sometimes a dozen at a time, in "hutches".  I was going to have Cliff bring up one of the hutches, but he suggested we simply give this calf the run of the hay section of our barn for now.  It faces south, so the sun shines in.  It keeps wind and rain off her.  Until she gets so big that it gets messy in there, that's where she'll live.

Her former owner thinks she was born February 6, so she is three weeks old today.  That means she had a good start on her mom's milk.  Now she's on milk replacer, which is simply baby formula for calves. 

I had to straddle her, facing forward, for her first bottle... and force the nipple in her mouth.  That's because she only knows her mom's teat as a food source.  Once she got a taste of the milk replacer, though, she eagerly nursed.  She let go a couple times, and I'd have to put it back in her mouth.  Then she'd nurse like crazy, once again.  This morning, she found the nipple by herself, with no help or direction from me at all.  I'll have to watch closely for scours (diarrhea), since she's on different milk.

She's actually nibbling already at calf starter (a grain mix for baby calves) and hay.

When we got her home, Cliff and I noticed that her ears have been damaged by cold temperatures; we'll see what effect that has on her looks.  It won't harm her in any other way.

See how the edge of the ear on  your left curls under a bit?  She's definitely going to lose a little of the edge of that ear, which won't be too noticeable.  Now, see the line about halfway down the ear on the right?  Both ears have that line, and we think that may be damage from freezing also.  If those portions come off, she's going to be a pretty odd-looking animal.   I'd rather she kept her ears... but beauty is only skin deep.  I'll love her anyway.

When the temperatures are below 20 degrees or so, a wet, newborn calf needs to be dried off immediately, or its ears and tail can freeze totally off.   Maybe I should have named her "Frosty".

Nope, she's going to remain "Secret", and I think she's a wonderful Valentine present!


csandhollow said...

She is a sweetie! My Baby is off milk now (of her own choice) She willnot eat the pellet feed so back to the sweet feed.

mutualaide said...

She's a sweetie, she is!  It's really very interesting to read about her!

lorinokla said...

Secret is adorable  (well, from what ive seen of her!)  

Shes lucky to have found a good home with you.
Thats too bad about her ears.

I once knew a horse who had deformed ears from frostbite, his owners were idiots, last I heard he found a good home.

tendernoggle said...

awwwwwwwwwwwww......I love little baby animals! I am so glad that you have Secret now and she will have a good home too, I am sure!!!
love ya,,

suzypwr said...

I am sorry about Secret's ears. Winter can be a bitch.

She is adorable :)


amy122389 said...

Aww...I'm in love!  What a sweetheart she is!  You know you really are making me jealous... ;-)


lanurseprn said...

Sorry about her ears. That had to have hurt! Poor baby!  Congrats on getting her home!

fowfies said...

She has beautiful ears, even if they are a little damaged.  She is just beautiful.

karlaellen said...

I sure hope she keeps her ears like they are.
I know nothing about cows or calves so your Secret
is interesting to me.
3 weeks seems so little/young.
Won't she be lonely out there by herself & without her mother?

mumma4evr said...

she is a cute!!!!

siennastarr said...

I had to go back a couple entries prior to this one to see her picture.  Some how I did not get the alert for that entry.  Big surprise, eh?
At any rate, Donna, she is so cute!  I love the way the calfs look..  I know you will love her with all you have!  Must be kind of fun feeding her, huh?