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.