Look at this bull! Sir Baby is now six years old and weighs over a ton. I’d guess he’s about 2200 pounds. His hooves are the size of salad plates. He stepped on my foot once, accidentally, and luckily the ground was soft and my foot sank into the earth and I was left with just a bruise. The hard part was getting him to move off my foot, because he was expecting a scratch between his shoulder blades.
Tinkerbell is a miracle baby – though she’s not a baby anymore, despite her tiny size. She’s nearly a year old and was born unexpectedly on the mountain last summer. Back in 2011, one beautiful young cow contracted a disease called lumpy jaw. A bacteria enters the jaw bone and causes the bone to grow, which severely deforms the jaw of the cow and makes it hard for her to chew. There’s no cure. The options are to sell the cow (which I was totally against, as she would be considered ‘garbage’ and treated even worse than other cows that enter The System), shoot the cow, or keep the cow and help her as much as possible (good grass, supplements in the winter, etc). We chose option 3. Though she became a very skinny cow, too thin to ever have calves, she was perky and an active part of the herd (sick and injured cows are “droopy” and will separate themselves from the rest of the herd).
Fast-forward to last October – this skinny, lumpy jaw cow came off the mountain with a baby! We couldn’t believe it – she didn’t even look pregnant when we trailed up, and we had missed all evidence of this event each time we went up to check on the cows (with 1000 acre leases, we never see every cow on these day trips). The baby was lively, frolicking and bucking, but miniscule, and already eating grass, as her mother wasn’t producing milk. I tried to get the calf to nurse on Daisy, but the calf had already been conditioned out of the instinct to nurse – she completely ignored Daisy’s udder and, instead, went for Daisy’s special high-protein pellets. So, we put the cow and her calf in the barn when we trailed the rest of the herd to fall pasture, and planned to spend the fall and winter giving them extra-special treatment and hopefully fattening both of them up.
November began with highs in the 60s, then, halfway through the month, the temperature suddenly plummeted to -21°F. It fell to -28°F the next night. And the next morning, we found mama had died in the night. She didn’t have enough body fat to keep her alive in that extreme cold, even in the barn with a sleeping bag tied on like a horse blanket and unlimited food. It was too cold, too fast. Her calf (who looks so much like she did, before the disease set in, with a long and delicate face) made it through the cold snap, as did the rest of the herd. I named the calf Tinkerbell, and I moved Sir Baby into the barn (he fights too much with the other bulls for his own good, which is why his left ear is deformed).
Tinkerbell and Sir Baby immediately became BFFs. They sleep side by side. Sir Baby grooms Tinkerbell throughout the day, licking her neck and back just like a mama cow would. He’s taught her not to fear people, and when I climb onto his back and brush his massive neck, she nibbles the toe of my boot. Tinkerbell gets a daily bucket of Daisy’s special pellets, and she’s actually grown quite a few inches in all directions. They are the biggest and the littlest members of the Farmily, an odd couple and unlikely friendship, a happy consequence of a sad story.
from left to right: a friend’s holstein heifer who’s living with us for a while /
Oreo’s sister / another heifer / Sir Baby / Fiona / Frisco
As I’ve mentioned before, Fiona and Oreo’s sister are BFFs.
This is how they hug.
And they’re both pregnant! They’ll calve in March ~ I’m so excited to see their babies. Will Oreo’s sister’s calf have a white face? What color do you think Fifi’s calf will be? She got it on with a black angus bull. I have high hopes that Fiona will have an udder like Daisy’s and I’ll be able to milk her, too.
Frisco & Sir Baby
Tweet from July 15: Sir Baby is feeling better ~ he gently tossed Mike into the water tank tonight. SO FUNNY.
Why did Sir Baby toss Mike into the water tank? Because he could! I took it as an enormous compliment, because Baby never pulls that kind of stunt with me. And he could, if he wanted to. And it shows, yet again, just how intelligent and clever these animals are. It was SO deliberate. A gentle plop. God, I love him, and Mike, too, for being such a good sport.
He didn’t hurt Mike at all (except for a bruised ego); he simply hooked his head under Mike’s left ass cheek, lifted him up – ever so slightly – then tilted his head and Mike was in the water tank. And I burst out laughing. And Baby calmly looked at me to say, “Who’s your Baby? Who’s your Number 1?”
Baby is healing well. Part two of my homemade hoof treatment is a salve ~ I’d never made a salve before, but once Sir Baby’s infection finished draining, I wanted something else to put on the wound to keep it soft and protected and to aid in healing. Back to the internet to learn from the masters.
I infused cold pressed organic olive oil with comfrey and calendula, then strained the oil and mixed it with beeswax and added a little lavender oil and calendula blossoms. I slather this on Baby’s wound twice a day. It has kept the cut from scabbing, allowing him to heal from the inside out ~ a slow process but far better in the long run.
I dabbed some on a nasty barb wire cut I had on my hand (that had already scabbed over), and the next day, the scab fell off, and the day after that, the cut was closed and pink. Now I can’t even find a scar. Miraculous stuff. And it smells DIVINE.
We did it!!! The first year of Star Brand Beef is sold out! Wow and yeehaw and thank you! This is really profound and exciting. I have a few unpaid invoices (everyone has until Monday) so if you were hoping to get in on it, email me and I’ll put you on a wait list in case any of the remaining orders fall through.
Other tidbits ~ Sir Baby is improving daily. His wound is still in the healing process and, with this kind of injury, it’s a long process. But I see daily improvement and he’s in great spirits. Thanks so much for your well wishes!
There was a fire here, though nothing remotely close to what’s going on in Colorado, and I do have pics and a post written but haven’t had a moment to
type it up (I hand write everything). Coming soon…..
AND: I’ll be doing some behind the scenes work on the Daily Coyote blog so it will be down for a period of time over the weekend ~ not to worry! My computer genius web man is fixing up some back end stuff and we’ll have it up again asap.keep looking »