Far too often in life, it seems that things do not go the way you plan. This is also true when it comes to raising livestock.
Nine months ago, I had a heifer jump the fence to get in with our borrowed bull. Not planned. Of course, the heifer, Marabelle, got pregnant. Not planned. I thought she was too young, and I wasn’t ready to train her to be a milk cow yet. But, I rolled with it. Plans change.
So, I made a new plan, expecting Marabelle to calf in early August. Early August came and went, still no calf. Early on the morning of August 13, I walked out to milk Sienna and check on Marabelle. What do I find? On the ground beside Marabelle is a stillborn calf. Not planned. I don’t know why she didn’t have a live calf. I’m not sure if Marabelle just got bred too young, or if there was some other problem. Perhaps she labored too long. I guess I will never know.
It’s ironic, because just in my last post, I commented about how we hadn’t had any calving problems so far. It was disappointing and sad to see a fully developed little heifer calf lifeless and lying on the ground. But, I rolled with it. What choice did I have? Actually, I figured I had three choices. I could do nothing and let Marabelle dry up. I could start milking her twice a day. Or, I could try and find another calf to put on her. I chose option three. I figured that was my best choice.
I didn’t want to let Marabelle dry up and miss this opportunity to finish her training as a milk cow. I didn’t want her pregnancy to be in vain. However, I do not have the time right now to milk two cows by hand every day. So, I decided to purchase a calf to put on her. That way I could still train her and milk her when I want to, but the calf could do the majority of the milking. Plus, Marabelle can raise a calf that we can sell down the road. I bought a Jersey bull calf from the same dairy where I purchased Ollie, Sienna’s adopted calf. He only cost $25.
In line with the other candy names I came up with for our batch of calves this year, I named the new adopted calf Twix.
In my next post, I will talk about training Marabelle to accept Twix. That’s the plan anyway…