Helllllooooo. Meet Norman the Calf.

Norman

I never said as a child, “when I grow up I want to have a cow.”  Having married into a family that raises beef I suddenly have not one, but lots of cows.  It has been an eye opening and exhilarating experience for me.  It is amazing to watch the “from farm to table” process and watch the incredibly hard working men in the family take on the tasks necessary to keep the farm going.

The family farm is “part time”, as we call it, but only because we have a ranch hand that lives just across the street who over sees the day to day operations.  He is truly a blessing and, as of lately, we have needed his expertise more than ever.

Norman

Every year {almost} a calf needs to be pulled from its mother.  Just like in childbirth sometimes those babies just don’t wanna come out or are breech.  This year he needed to go over and pull a calf and that calf just happened to be Norman.  He is gorgeous.  Seriously.  When mr and the boy went to tag him his ears folded over because they are so big.  And he has this fawn color to him.  Totally gorgeous and I’m trying to forget the fact that in a year he will be grilled on my barbecue.  Unless I can turn him into some prize winning steer…a steer is what they are called after, ya know, snip snip.  No chance to sell him for his seed.  Bummer.

Norman came into this world with some help and he is going to need help to remain here.  On the farm property there happens to be some ditches.  These ditches are there for drainage purposes and don’t cause problems.  Every once in awhile things happen on a farm that are out of your control.  That happened this Sunday when we discovered a cow lying in the ditch, dead from suffocation. {I know, not exactly the enlightening information you want to discover on a food blog but I have been feeling an increased urgency to teach about things of this nature.}  It was Norman’s mother.

What we think happened, to quote my wise mother-in-law, “she laid down too close to the ditch and we believe she probably slipped trying to get up, pushing her deeper in the ditch. When cows get into that position, they cannot move and their organs get pushed so they cannot breathe.”  Ask me how many times this has happened in the 10 years I’ve been married and I can’t think of once.

My mother-in-law continued, “When she was discovered this morning, we chained her body and began to drag her away from that spot to a better one. [she was in the open where neighbors could see]  The entire herd came RUNNING to her aid and followed with her as she was moved.  When she was unhooked and the truck drove away, the cows remained around the body for quite a while. Her calf found her and laid down by her.”  It’s okay…I have tears in my eyes too.

That was Norman.  We had to get him separated from her and corralled until the decision was made to bottle feed him.  Being one of the youngest calves he is still on a milk diet and won’t start grazing right now.  The last couple of days have been spent trying to teach him to suck from a bottle and to become more domesticated since we allow the cows to roam freely on the farm the presence of people usually means something is up and it’s not always good.  He is a tough little bugger which is why I’m happy to have him represent his fellow cows everywhere.

Hopefully his story will give you just a bit more insight as to the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes of a working farm.  Even a part time one.  Stay tuned on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and YouTube at #normanthecalf to get daily updates.

Comments

  1. omg so sad!! When I was little my dad’s cousin had a cow that abandoned her calf and wouldn’t feed it, and the farmer was in the hospital (cousin’s husband) so my dad and my brother and I used to feed it.

  2. Meg says:

    Oh my! He is pretty. Have you gone and fed him? Do your kids get to? I hope he makes it.

  3. Oh that just breaks my heart!! But what a cute little guy he is!! Can’t wait to follow his story.

  4. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    This story is heartbreaking, at least he is in good hands now.

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