Red Rose Takes on a Roommate

The nights are cold and the days are lonely, so Little Red Rose has taken on a roommate.


Meet Buddy, a really cute bull calf on loan from my favorite vet.

“After all,” says the vet, “if you’re gonna bottle feed one calf, you might as well bottle feed two calves.”

So, we’re bottle feeding two calves.

So far, so good.  Rose has a few days of living on Buddy, so she’s a bit impatient for his style of play to rise to her standards.  I pointed out that he still has a moist-ish umbilical cord where hers has already dried up and fallen off.  I told her that she just needed to give him some time.  I am sure, though, that she will do her level best to show the same kind of patience to him as we have shown to her.  (Yeah, right.)

Brisket observes these new babies with great interest, and she and Rose have found a way to play “chase” even while separated by a gate.  It is hilarious to watch, though the mother in me is just certain that someone is going to get hurt.  I stay out of the way to ensure that it is not me.

We have another momma cow, Wilma, entering her “confinement period” (that’s my terminology, not a real farmer’s).  Her owner thinks she’ll be calving any time, and we shall soon see.  Either way, Wilma is immensely enjoying the extra attention (and food).

Here’s a little Bovine Trivia:  In these parts, a cow is not a cow until she has had two calves (from two separate calvings).  Up until that time, she is a heifer.  Boy cows are never called cows by real farmers.  If they’re castrated, they are steers (and eventually show up in your neighborhood grocery store).  If they remain intact (as in not fixed), they are bulls and are used for fertilization purposes…or maybe bull riding.  Nobody but real farmers (and large-animal veterinarians) care about these distinctions.  However, from my personal experience, real farmers and large-animal veterinarians care about them a lot and will sometimes act like they have no idea what you’re referring to when you point to the heifer and say “cow”.  Just a warning in case you ever find yourself under obligation to discuss the care of another person’s heifer with non-lay people.  All of this information is totally my interpretation and understanding of the way things have been repeatedly (and sometimes not very patiently) explained to me since living among real farmers.  Do not quote me on any of it.


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