Last evening I was just leaving my office when Mr. Pat drove by.
“Bad news. Calf born, maybe last night,” he yelled. “Not doing so good, can't stand up. Jennifer's gone to town for supplies.”
|Jennifer holds Bully Boy's head up|
Bad news indeed.
We've been anxiously monitoring our four bred Angus, due to calve between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They've looked the picture of health–black, fat, glossy, and clear-eyed, bred to a black Japanese Wagyu.
But first birth for any new mother can be risky. We hurried over to the pasture where our little guy lay in the straw as Mama looked on worriedly.
He was clean as a whistle, which means she'd tended him, so it wasn't a case of maternal neglect. But he just had no vigor. Jennifer thought he might be about a month early.
He was beautiful.
We got him to stand and Mama tried to get close to him. We took that as a good sign and backed off.
Jennifer got back with the milk, bottles, and colostrum paste. When Jer came back to the house he said she'd managed to get about a third of a bottle into him, but that he wouldn't latch on and suck properly. She thought he was just too weak.
Jennifer had to head home to get her own baby and everyone decided just to let the calf rest for a while. He looked plumb tuckered out, and as I reminded everyone, he was a newborn, even if he did weigh 45 pounds, and needed his rest.
After supper Jerry hurried down to check on him. Sterling went out to help, and they tried to feed some more. The calf still couldn't suck, though he did seem somewhat interested.
Finally Jerry called me to find Jennifer and get her back.
She'd just picked up the baby, so I said, “That one I know what to do with. I'll take care of Kenya.” Jennifer headed back to the Ranch.
By now lightning was dancing on the horizon with thunderstorms predicted by midnight. I groped my way in the dark to where Jerry and Sterling continued to work to get some milk into the calf.
I helped until Jennifer showed up, and then went to take baby Kenya from her. An hour later she'd managed to get another half bottle and the colostrum into him, and they'd settled him into a stall. He looked a little better.
This morning I checked on him and Sam the mule and a little sidekick were in the stall with the baby. Jennifer showed up with the office staff. Mama decided the hubub was too much and came to investigate, running CJ out the other side of the stall. We made ourselves scarce.
“What's his name?” someone asked.
“No name!” I said, quoting the party line.
“Breakfast, some day,” Jennifer said. Then we both leaned low and whispered in his ear, “Only kidding, Bully Boy.”
Stay tuned, and say a little prayer, if you would.