Best Laid Plans

This is the little bull calf who was adopted by Marabelle. He’s still at the dairy here.

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. 

Ladies in waiting: My two milk cows, Sienna and her daughter, Marabelle, stand by the gate, waiting for me to feed them in the barn. They were still pregnant here.

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. 

This is one of the small calf hutches that the dairy keeps its bottle calves in.

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…

One comment

  1. Twix is such a cute name!! Hope he continues to do well and this problem resolved itself!
    It’s sure true that nothing in life goes along the same lines very long!


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