Monday, February 17, 2014

Rest in Peace

This little guy survived the freezing cold of the winter of 2014.

Four of his "classmates" of the County Line Class of 2014 did not, despite Randy's best efforts.
Last week, we lost four baby calves who didn't survive the sub-zero wind chills and snow drifts. With one of them, Randy had it in the warm pickup and gave it warm milk, just like he'd done with the first one. But it still didn't survive. (For more on Randy's care of cold baby calves, click on this link.)

Another was a twin. His sibling survived, but he did not.

With two of them, the mamas were so riled up and protective that Randy couldn't get close enough to help. At some point, you have to determine the "price" you are willing to pay. With one, I tried to help keep the mama away while Randy helped the baby. Jake did the same with another. When a 1,200-pound mama is charging toward you, you can't stop and reason with her. It's hard to fault her when she's doing what nature prompts her to do: Protect her offspring.

But a human is no match for a charging cow. After several attempts, Randy said, "The emergency room bill is going to be more expensive than this is worth."

A baby calf is worth about $300 to $350 this winter, so it's not an insignificant amount of money to lose a calf. Last week wasn't a good one on the bottom line. But it's also not good on a farmer's spirits. Farmers want to do their best for the creatures and the land they are responsible for.

But life isn't always fair. Sometimes you try your darndest and things still don't work out the way you'd prefer.

To make matters worse, Randy also lost Boots last week. (He got run over when he was out and about on a hunt.)
Boots was one of Randy's favorites, second only to Big Cat in his affections.
He was one of the prettiest kitties we'd ever had on the County Line.

He was one of Kinley's favorites, too.
Now, Randy's mission is to further tame Boots' litter mate, Calico.
With warmer temperatures this week, the weather will be more fit for man and beast. And that's a good thing!


  1. Oh my! So sorry for your losses. It is such a tragedy. Your week sounded like ours 10 days ago. We have had it bad with the coyotes snatching live calves! Its ridiculous! We have killed at least 15 so far.
    Yes, we do risk life and limb to protect our livelihood.
    Hopefully your weather will warm up!!

    1. Thanks, Cheri! This week's weather forecast looks much more favorable for calving, and that's a very good thing. Good luck with keeping your babies safe from coyotes.

  2. I am so sorry for your losses, of cats and cows. Our neighbor up here has lost several big and small critters to the cold... we have been lucky enough to lose only one old rooster, but we had to ask ourselves the same thing you did... if the toll on the "farmer" was too high than the animal was worth.

    1. It's a difficult assessment because the natural inclination is to do anything possible, but it's not worth risking an injury to a person. Here's hoping we all have a better week with the critters!