We have been getting snowstorms every week for a month. Hooray for the much needed moisture! A real white-out blizzard began Friday evening, blowing until late Saturday afternoon. 6' drifts on the driveway, and presumably the roads to town also, prevented us from going to church today. This was providential since Zane discovered a nearly frozen-to-death calf that we have been attending to all day.
Highland calves are sturdy, but the temperatures dipped to zero last night, and the herd was undoubtedly wet from the heavy snowfall. On the close-by south pasture, under a very large elm tree south of our greenhouse, the herd found some protection from the strong winds. But this little guy - born 2 days ago - didn't have enough stamina to stay on his feet, therefore couldn't run around to keep himself warm. So, into the house he came. Mikey, as the kids have named him after his mother Mary Kate, is now napping on a towel on the floor in our main bathroom. Good thing we have a second bathroom downstairs for us humans to use in the meantime.
Cary just went and milked the mother cow, as well as our jersey cow who had a calf 2 days ago, in hopes of getting enough vital colostrum into the highland bull calf. The jersey calf, Renee, born to our Rosie 2 days ago, also had trouble shortly after her birth. Milking her mom's colostrum, then giving it to her via syringe gave her immediate energy. It was sunny that day, and the warmth helped her stand and nurse on her own by nightfall.
Cary and Zane have had lots of colostrum syringing practice lately as last weekend another highland was struggling to nurse and had to be helped by milking her mother and syringing it. After 3 days of diligence on the farmers' part, the calf is running around and nursing on it's own. We had separated the mother/daughter pair into a pen so it was easier to catch the mom for milking, and to hand-feed the calf. Mary Kate has joined them already, and Mikey will, too, if tomorrow is sunny and he is standing.
For now, this bull calf, dunne colored like his father, just can't get his internal heat going. Still shivering after 5 hours in the house, we have been blowing hot air from a hairdryer on him every 15 minutes, and vigorously rubbing him all over to stimulate him. We also plugged in a heating pad and put it underneath him. Cary just headed out to find an extra heat lamp to hang up over the tub to where we will move him for the night.
Livestock are not people, but when they are 'down', especially the babies, we treat them attentively and dotingly as we would our own family members. Prayers have been said all day for this calf, and we hope the Lord will bring him through. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Spring babies are the joys on a farm; ones who are not doing well are the heartbreak. Many trials are to be endured in this lifestyle, and we are trusting the good Lord to bring us, and our baby animals, through.