Calves and Thieves

Birthing season is over now at our farm. All the mama cows had healthy calves, thankfully. The last to calf was our heifer, Wednesday. She had her first calf, and I named him Dr. Pepper. Our Longhorn Sassy had a calf just before her that I named Pepsi. 

Sassy and Pepsi lying in the shade.

Sassy, as I’ve discussed in a prior post, always lives up to her name. My husband was able to tag (and band when necessary) all the calves without problems except Sassy’s. Sassy gets extremely protective of her calves right after they’re born. She charged Scott when he went to get her calf. Scott got out of her way and decided he’d have to try another tactic. The next day, when he saw that Sassy was in our front pasture and her calf was lying down in the back pasture, he saw his chance. He closed the gate and tagged the calf while Sassy angrily walked the fence line in protest. 

When our family milk cow, Sienna, had her calf, I put the two of them in a separate paddock, so it would be easier to keep an eye on them, and they would be closer to the barn. Also, I wanted to keep Sienna away from Sassy for awhile. (Sassy picks on her.) Anyway, after two weeks, I let them out. Sienna’s calf, Seven-Up, seemed excited to be with the other calves. However, this week I had to separate them again, because of a thief in the herd.

I have to go back almost a year to explain. One of the Longhorn calves named Independence (you can guess what day she was born), liked to sneak over to Sienna while her calf nursed and suck off a back teat. I was stunned the first time I saw this. That little thief! She had her own mother to nurse from, but apparently she thought Sienna’s creamy bounty was too good to pass up. Mama cows are very good about only letting their own calves nurse, but I’m sure Sienna didn’t even realize what the thief was doing, since she only tried it when the other calf was nursing, too.

The thief, Independence, will soon be gone.

Skip forward to a couple days ago and guess who I saw doing the exact same thing again this year? I was livid. Independence is now a year old and still a little, sneaky thief! I had planned on keeping Independence as a breeder. Now she’ll have to go to the sale barn. 

I’m sure Independence wasn’t too happy that I separated Sienna and took away her free lunch, but she’s taking it better than my horse Shiloh. As I’ve mentioned before, Shiloh and Sienna have a special bond. He doesn’t like to be away from her. The first time I separated her, he showed his disapproval by neighing and stomping at the gate that separated them. When I let her out, he was back hanging right by his buddy most of the day. Just recently I watched as he stood perfectly still as Sienna licked him. I’ve never seen a cow licking a horse before. She was licking him like he was her calf. Crazy.

Shiloh’s best buddy is Sienna.

Shiloh voiced his opposition to their separation again when I took Sienna away recently. Last time, he was able to sneak into her paddock when I was trying to get Seven-Up back in. The calf wandered over to Shiloh to check him out, even walking right under my horse. I watched in panic, fearing my horse might try to kick the calf or walk right over him. But, he didn’t. He didn’t seem to mind at all. I guess he’s decided Sienna’s calf is part of their little club. 

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