My 18 year old cows
by Ruth Stone
(Elk Point, Alberta, Canada)
About 18 years ago our daughter brought home some calves from a feed lot where she was working. There were heifers and bull calves and all were born to heifers in the lots so all were exposed to every disadvantage imaginable. Most did not receive colostrum from their mothers and were never licked clean. They were dirty, smelly and severely disadvantaged right from the start. We started them on commercial colostrum and gradually changed over to commercial unmedicated milk replacer after the first 3 days. (Note: I will never encourage the use of commercial milk replacer except as a last ditch resort - far better to use unpasteurized "real milk.") However, at the time we believed the advertisements and it did keep the calves alive until they started eating grass and drinking water instead. Anyway, over the summer we raised 18 out of 21 calves and at this time of writing we still have 2 of the original old girls left, Ginger and Buttercup, both in calf and doing well. They still believe I am their mother and have no flight distance at all when I walk/work around them. If I don't want them in my face, I keep very quiet because as soon as they hear my voice, they start ambling over to get involved. In summer, I never chase around looking for cows in our extensive, heavily treed pastures, I just go out with the truck and call: the whole herd comes because of those two cows who can't bear to miss out on anything! They always get rewarded when they get there of course.
MEG: WOULD BE GREAT TO SEE A PIC RUTH!