We have said it in the past but it bears repeating! Raising animals is not for the faint of heart. I have learned over the past 2 years there is a lot of joy and heartache when you breed animals and babies are born on your farm. Sometimes the roller coaster is overwhelming!
Over the past couple of weeks, we have been blessed with 2 new calves. Our first was a bull calf, Turbo, and he looks wonderfully big and strong. He was 58 pounds at birth which is a great size for a calf, small enough so mama does not have to work too hard to deliver the baby but big enough to withstand potential perils.
Ginger was born next and we had the pleasure of arriving right after she was born. She was very wet and had not been cleaned when we arrived, the afterbirth was still coming out of mama. We did not worry too much about her other than she was tiny, only 38 pounds. We checked with some friends and they said sometimes calves are really small, so she would probably be ok. Over the next few days, Ginger still did not seem to be gaining weigh and was still having trouble getting around. We noticed she was having issues going to the bathroom and started monitoring her closely.
By day 2, we decided to take her to the vet and have her checked out. I am so thankful we made that choice! At the vet, we discovered she had a 104 degree temperature, normal for a cow is 100 degrees. The vet also said she had an infection in her umbilical cord, that sometimes happens if the calf has not gotten enough colostrum in the first 12 hours of life. Ginger was given a 50% chance of survival by the vet. We want the strongest animals on our farm and do not want to pump a lot of medications into them, so we had a difficult decision to make.
We had to decide whether or not to invest in trying to heal her or not. There was a chance that after the meds, she would still need IV fluids, and if the infection entered her bloodstream, we would put a lot of investment in her that may not work. Since she is a registered calf, we felt like we had to go forward with trying to save her. The next 2-3 days were critical. She had to be checked on every few hours to see if she was nursing or becoming dehydrated.
Thankfully she came through and she is getting stronger by the day! We are very thankful for the guidance of our vet and their help in determining how to proceed. We are totally invested in our animals and have to make tough decisions everyday regarding their health, and it is never easy to see them die to illness or disease or predators.
Here is our sweet Ginger...she just might be our first "pet" cow. :-) She is running and playing with Turbo and acting all kinds of crazy. Calves are hilarious to watch, we will try to catch it on video.