Bottle calves

Last summer my little cowgirl took on her first herd–a handful of bottle calves.  They were orphans or sickly little things when they came to the corral at the house. girl and calf The little cowgirl spent hours with the calves and named all of them after gemstones–Sapphire, Onyx, Ruby, Pearl, Agate.

bottle calves

Eventually most ended up with nicknames–Sapphy, Big Boy (Onyx was the biggest in the group and never took to a bottle),  Pitiful Pearl (she was blind and had a tongue that didn’t work properly), Aggie.

The little cowgirl fed them morning and night and spent the hours between gentling them to the point they would come running at the slightest sound of the gate squeaking open.

MFR sapph bottle

She participated in 4H this year as a Clover Bud which meant she couldn’t officially show an animal at the fair but she could participate in the bucket calf show, an event for Clover Buds who are learning the livestock show ropes.  Sapphire turned out to be her guy!

MFR sapph at fair

Everyone is a winner in the bucket calf show.  And, while cute may not win the steer show in a couple years, he won with me this year–a perfect gentleman in the show ring!

Over the summer, the calves grew, were allowed out in the pasture at the house.  They learned to follow their two-legged leader back to the corral for dinner with little more than a call of, “Sapphy, Saaaaapphy, Saaaaapphyyyyyyyyy.”

MFR herd in pasture

By late fall, the herd was big enough and healthy enough to go to their winter pasture.  The little cowgirl shed a few tears for her babies.  But, she goes for a visit, just a couple pastures over, as often as she can.  They still come to her call, eat out of her hand and expect their usual scratches between the  ears. But, now they are taller and stronger.  The hard part is going to be explaining the day when her first herd is loaded on the truck.  She may be taller and stronger, too, but this is going to be an emotional one.

MFR sapph grown up

Tiny calf

Last week, I introduced you to Andre the Giant, the biggest calf on the ranch.  This week, meet Tiny, the smallest calf on the ranch.

Tiny is so cute and super sweet.  Luckily, she has a momma who loves her (and a cowboy, too, by the looks of it!). But, momma is a first calf heifer who doesn’t seem to be producing quite enough milk, even for this little one.  In that case, we are keeping her close by to supplement feedings.

She is happy for the extra meals.  Although, she’d rather have the real deal from her momma.  Who can blame her?  Mother’s milk is called “liquid gold” for a reason.

Andre the Giant

Meet Andre the Giant!  He was born on Tuesday night to Cow #5187 and weighs over 100 lbs.

His momma ran away for a day after giving birth so we loaded him up and took him home for a bottle.

Momma was located and they are now back together.  Both are adjusting well.

Sheesh, I’m pretty sure I would’ve run away for a while after trying to give birth to a baby this big, too!

Heifer and Calf

Between the weather and travel I haven’t been back to the nursery to snap any photos of new babies.

I finally made time today!  Several babies are already on the ground.  All but one have been moved out of the nursery to the pasture.

First calf heifers are often wild–they run around, kick and snort to protect their baby.    This momma was no different; I can’t say I was much different with my babe so I guess I can’t blame her!  This shot is the best I could do today!

I wish I could’ve captured a photo of his entire face, he has a perfect mask.

The cows will be calving soon.  We’ll have a little better luck with photos then!