– Say No to Christmas Calves –
– Proper Companions –
– Colors Can Be Confusing –
– Meet the Coos Part 3 –
Say No to Christmas Calves
I know how cute they are, I also know there are people out to make some money by selling irresistable bottle baby calves for someone’s Christmas Stocking. Just say no!
In the first place, like a Christmas puppy, the recipient may love it to pieces when it is cute and little and fuzzy, but when it is 2-3 years old and 1000 -1500 #, requires feed and water every day (even when it is cold and raining or snowing), and creates 40-50# of poo every day that must be cleaned up, that is a recipe for neglect.
Christmas Puppies that have become uncute for one reason or another are often dumped or left at animal shelters (where many are euthanized each year). A calf that becomes uncute is left to try to survive as best it can in a field. Calves need a calf companion. Not next month, always! Even if they are good friends, another bovine just for company is a necessity from the day you take a calf home.
Anyone who would pull a calf under 6 months old away from its mother is putting that calf in danger nutritionally and causing unnecessary stress on the cow since you can rest assured that she will be bred back sooner than she normally would if the calf was continuing to nurse as it should. They fail to get the benefit of the immunity a nursing calf gets from its mother’s milk, so are prone to disease. Most have not been seen by a vet and have no idea how to drink from a bottle when sold. Consequently, a large percentage of calves sold to people as bottle babies die within a month.
MINI LESSON FOR THOSE WHO ARE JUST GETTING INTO HIGHLANDS
A Highland Heifer (defined in newsletter #19) should not be in the same pasture as, or even share a fence line with, a bull of any breed until she has reached maturity at 2.5-3 years of age. Therefore, you should not consider a bull calf a proper companion for a heifer calf. The bull will be capable of breeding by one year of age, and although a heifer can be bred at about that same age, her body is not mature and she will be in grave danger of a difficult birth, stunted growth or at the worst dying during calving.
A proper companion would be another heifer, but they seem to be in short supply and high demand. Another choice is a steer (bull that has been neutered) of the same age or a little older. Steers are often overlooked as pasture companions since most steers are headed for the beef market. A steer though does not have hormone swings, so his temperament is more predictable. He can serve as a companion for cows, calves, bulls and other steers, so he is versatile and usually is less expensive.
Colors Can be Confusing
White or silver? I see this question often in the Highland groups and just happen to have a White cow with a silver dun calf at her side. Right now, the coat color is definitely different, but when the calf is just a little older, its coat will be almost as light as the mother cow’s is. The main difference between them at that point will be the color of their noses. A white cow has a pink nose and a silver has a gray or black nose.
Cows & Calves for Sale Before the End of the Year
There will be two cows and two calves sold before the end of the year: Be watching for their announcements. We will follow the same procedure of bidding as we did with the last calves. If you’re new to the newsletter and unfamiliar with our sales procedure, please shoot me an email to [email protected] and ask for a copy of the sales procedure.
Meet the Coos – Part III
We’re pleased to introduce to another set of the ladies of Elm Hollow Farm. The next newsletter will feature more of our Scottish lassies.