Kathy, the newborn Survivor, safe and warm in her pen and nonplussed by her adventure.
I'm still shaking my head in disbelief over what happened Tuesday. It has made me marvel at the strength and hardiness of animals, and it taught me a good lesson in completely checking out a situation before giving up.
Tuesday morning we had our monthly herd clinic with Dr. Steve. The fresh cows were all doing fine, and every cow we pregnancy checked was, indeed, pregnant. The only down side was when Dr. Steve checked a cow that was due to calve. I had found her over in the woods Sunday morning and had wondered if she had calved that day. But, I found no signs of a birth taking place, I searched the immediate area and found no calf, and the cow, Thelma, took off for the barn showing no signs of wanting to hang around because she had a calf nearby. Steve's exam found that Thelma had calved. Needless to say I felt terrible. What had happened to the calf?
I just had to go back to the spot where I had found Thelma and give it one more look. In the afternoon, I took the four-wheeler and drove over to where I had seen Thelma Sunday morning. Again, nothing caught my eye. I crossed over the fence to look further into the woods, pushing pine branches out of the way. As I pushed one branch it broke with a loud snap!, and out jumped a calf from the underbrush. I was stunned. I could not believe a calf born over two days ago was still alive out here. She looked fine. I spoke to her, and when I got close she started nosing at my knee, telling me that she was very hungry.
Back at the barn, we put her in a nice warm calf pen and got her a bottle of warm colostrum from her mother who had just been milked. I had never seen a calf drink a half gallon of milk so fast. We saved a second bottle, and gave that to her later in the evening. I had to hold tight to the bottle so that she wouldn't pull it out of my hands. When I told my wife, Karen, about the calf, she said we should name it Kathy after Kathy O'brien, the Vermont resident who had appeared on the CBS show, "Survivor", twice. We thought that was a great idea. I never would have imagined a newborn calf could survive the elements, and the coyotes, for so long before being found.
--Jonathan, Howmars Farm
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Left: Some other creatures left out in the elements at Howmars Farm this week!