Saturday, March 3, 2007

memories, sweet memories

I read on Homesteading Today about a calf that was born weighing 229 pounds.  Now, I've seen a couple of Holstein-Brown Swiss-cross calves that might have weighed near 90, and they were HUGE.   I decided to share this article with my friends on Tractor Tales.  Someone asked if it's possible to do a C-section on cows.  I answered yes, but the cost was probably prohibitive.  A farmer got in on the discussion and said that, in Wyoming, it only costs $150 to $200 for a C-section.  Amazing.  I passed this info along to Cliff, and we agreed that obviously it wouldn't be that hard for the vet:  You just make the right cut, pull the calf out, and sew up the cow.

Cliff said, "I've done it; only I never had to sew up the cow."

Oh yeah.  I'd forgotten about that.

You see, Cliff worked for years at a country butcher shop.

Sometimes a cow would come through that was obviously very pregnant.  Now, the calf inside was going to die when mom was butchered.  So, Cliff would do the C-section after killing the cow, cut off the dead cow's udder, let the calf nurse colostrum from it, and bring the baby home.

It was (and I'm sure it still is) against the law to do this.  Federal law strictly forbade it, I'm not sure why.  You folks won't tell on Cliff, will you?  It's been over thirty years now.

Anyhow, I'd bottle raise the babies.  Some were so premature that their teeth weren't through and their hooves were soft... but they thrived anyway.  I'm sure I must have lost one or two along the line, but I don't remember those.  I do recall the several I raised successfully.  The first one, a little Angus, I named Bam-Bam.  We kept him in a pen with a baby pig, and they were best buddies.  Somewhere I have a picture of the pig curled up with the calf, with it's head on the calf's belly.

Years later, when I was raising bull calves on the bottle, I got one that was one born two months premature.  We knew this because the dairyman used artificial insemination to breed his cows, and he knew the exact date this baby should have been born.  The normal gestation period for a cow is nine months, the same as humans. This baby barely made it past seven months, and yet it did just fine. 

This entry is going nowhere:  Pay no attention to me; I'm just strolling down memory lane once again.  It just amazes me that something born so early can live.


lanurseprn said...

Wow you guys have done some amazing things!

rollinghillsides said...

Not so Mosie ...   your entry was NOT "going nowhere", it was very, very interesting and informative.  I really enjoy reading and learning all about  these 'animal things'  I never knew.  You sure do lead the good life (but it doesn't sound easy, that's for sure)!!    Judy

csandhollow said...

I consider what Cliff did as a rescue.

fierrorachel said...

Wow, Dad was a rebel with a cause, huh?  LOL  I never knew this, or don't remember it.  Thanks.  When are you going to tell about the skunks on the back porch?  Or any of the OTHER baby animals that we came home to?  Yup, get off the bus, run to the door, find a baby animal.  Although the squirrel turned mean (maybe just to me...who knows?)

tendernoggle said...

Mosie, what your Cliff did, my Danny would have done also...I praise Cliff for his heroic act!!!And you too for raising them! We to have reaised a many orphan animal...squirrels, rabbits, name it!
love ya,

plieck30 said...

My lips are sealed. John would have done that. He had to take a heifer to another town for a c-section this past year. He was charged a little over $300 because it was at 2:30 in the morning. Interesting entry. Paula

suzypwr said...

I find the story interesting too - I also think it's great that those calves were saved!


siennastarr said...

I admire Cliff for doing that..  there's no way I would ever tell on him..


loisontheweb said...

  HOLY COW!!!!!!!!   I would have never dreamed .... how marvelous you two are to have saved those babies!


magran42 said...

What interesting facts.  Its good to hear these things from one that knows.  Something I would have never known.

helmswondermom said...

I really enjoyed this entry.  Very interesting about the calves.