Thursday, January 24, 2008

Never Name Your Cows

The farmer and his older brother worked out a deal with a cattle rancher that we would raise three calves that were orphaned and then when they were old enough, they would be butchered, one for each of us. The problem was these calves were supposed to be a few months old. However, they were late births and were basically just a week or so old. The farmer and Emma thought it would be grand if we would name them. Buster was a middle sized calf, Brutus was bulky and big and then there was tiny little Oreo, named for his coloring.

I never bargained this deal but I was the one that had got to bottle feed these three most of the time because it had to be done before we went off to work. So every morning and evening the farmer or I would mix up the milk, trudge out there and feed these three hungry babies. As they grew it became more difficult to do this on my own because one of them was very aggressive. Because we were not set up with a chute or barn, when it was time for a vaccination or worming, it was quite tricky.  I actually became welllll sorta good at giving shots but hated it. Most mornings I would be out there trying to keep Brutus from butting the bottles away from the other two or recovering nipples that were pulled off, covered in manure and snot. Yes cows snot on you.

This was Oreo. He was the tiniest little one and we became quite attached to him. He as well as the others used to run along the fence as soon as he heard our car coming up the driveway. If he spied the farmer walking through the family room which has large windows, he would stand there and just moo until he walked away or came out to feed him grain. He was so completely a spoiled baby.

This is Buster, Brutus and Oreo. Brutus was a pig. He would eat his food and then begin to head butt the others away from theirs and then eat it as well. We had to put him down eventually because he foundered on alfalfa and grain. He did not have an internal mechanism that told him when he needed to quit eating.

They eventually grew up and we called a slaughterer. Out they came and of course you just can never be prepared to hear that shot. Especially the farmer, who had to come in the house while it was being done. I grew up eating home grown beef but we didn't exactly coddle the cows dad had. So we had Oreo in the freezer and it took me months to be able to eat beef without thinking of cannibalism.

These two steers that were used in my header were much older when they came to us and we didn't name them. We also did not have them as long or bottle feed them.

Never name your cows.


The Dairy Wife said...

awwww .... he is, oops, was so cute. He really looks like a Oreo.

We are raising "whitey" an all black angus to butcher, he's about 6 months old now and I don't think I'll be able to do it. It's just not the same.

Hey, I emailed you.


carrie & troy keiser said...

When I was younger we got chicks and raised them. They were cute little birds, then ouside they went and we got eggs, that was fun finding the eggs, then my dad croked them and I swore off chicken for a LONG time!So never name farm animals.... they just might be dinner one day!