Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fish Hook had a Baby!

So I get a call from Ron as he's feeding cattle, "looks like there's a little Hereford calf down here."

There's one thing that every Fairchild on this place gets excited about and that's a baby.  "I'll be right down." I said, as I threw on the first sweatshirt I could find (Ron's) and barn boots, (also Ron's) and with the camera, I jumped in the the big wheeler.  Kara was outside so I picked her up along the way and we went down to the feedlot.

He didn't tell us what pen it was in, so here's Kara looking for it in the last pen.  She found it and we went down on the east side to get a better look. 

To be honest, it looked dead, it wasn't moving at all. It was laying in the middle of the pen with only a heifer down with it and I knew it wasn't hers. Now, I don't know what's wrong with me, I don't know if it's getting the calf out of the pen before Ron (I'm a little competitive) or the thrill of feeling the breathe of an angry cow on the back of my neck or what...

But I had to go in there and get it.

Since Ron was feeding, 90% of the cattle were eating and not paying attention to me sneaking in there like a cat burglar. Okay, more like a calf burglar trying to tromp through wet clay in too big of boots.  I get to the calf and it's HUGE!  Nothing I can throw over my shoulder and run with. 

K, Plan B.

I get it up and it's spunky, a lot more fire under it than I was expecting.  I'm trying to turn it to the gate when it happened...


CRAP! (I think I said far worse) I look up to see a fiery and upset Fish Hook coming down to that second pen at a run.  Eyes wide and snortin'...that was both of us.  She was after me and I was trying to get out.  I felt like that kids book but the farmer version;

Get away from the calf...tip toe, tip toe
Run through the mud...squelch squirch, squelch squirch
Climb the gate as fast I can...doo, doo, doo, doo
Jump over so fast and just about fall on the ground....

Kara's on the other side laughing her butt off.  "Mom, she was going to get you! I bet that's her calf. There's blood on her tail." 
"I know!  I guess we'll have to wait for dad and the bobcat," I said feeling a little defeated and breathing like a ran a 5K.

So of course Big D (Ron-Big Daddy because he's super strong) was mad that I jumped in there on my own.   Anyway, he got in there with the bobcat and got them all down into the bottom since the little calf was up front.

He drove back over to the gate and positioned the bobcat in the gate opening so they couldn't get back up into the pen where the calf was. 

"I'll get back in the bobcat, and slowly move out of the opening, and you hurry up and shut the gate as I'm doing that, ok?"
"SURE" I said, watching Fish Hook pacing right on the other side of the fence and bobcat. I was reminded of a story from our old feed rep.  His dad had pulled a newborn calf up into the pickup bed to work on and that old momma cow jumped in the pick up bed, over the cab, broke the windshield and fell off the front. "And she ended up in as feedlot just like this." 

Here were hauling him up to the barn. Then Ron reminds me that we have to go open the gate to let all the cows back up to finish eating and get water. 

So the crew goes down to put everybody back to normal.  Ron put a cornstalk bale in there to divert attention from us, so we were able to get the gates open without trouble.  Fish Hook was standing in the far corner so I wasn't worried.  Then usually when we get a calf we get momma in the head gate and milk out some colostrum.

So Ron says with a smile, "Gonna milk her out?"
Ummm nope.

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