This morning while I was filling pails of corn from the grain bin I was greeted by our entire herd of pregnant beef cows hoping to get a treat from me. All of them, except one lined up to see if I would give in to their begging. The one who didn’t come begging had more important things to tend to. All the way across the lot I saw her anxiously coaxing her new bundle of joy, trying to convince her to have her first meal.
I quickly finished my chores in the goat barn so I could go get a better look. Wouldn’t you know it that is the cutest baby calf I have ever seen! Okay so the first calf of the year is always the most special, but this one was so tiny, barely as big as our yellow lab (who isn’t too terribly big either). I thought maybe this one looked so little because I’m not used to seeing newborn calves, after all, it has been nearly a year since we had any around here. I called Bill to go check it out and he confirmed, yup it’s a little one.
We tend to select for smaller calves that gain well once they hit the ground, it’s easier on the mamas that way. Our calves are typically 70 pounds or so when they’re born and wean at 550-650 pounds in the fall with no creep feed while on pasture. Bill’s estimate on this calf…35 pounds.
So is it a runt? Not necessarily. This little heifer calf appears to be quite healthy. When I found her this morning she was still wet from being licked off and already up and chasing after her mama. She did manage to have her first meal and by the time Bill got to her she had a full belly. Plus, this little one has an advantage being the first born, she’ll have more time to grow before most of the other calves are born.
So, now for the important part…what to name the little one. “Tiny” seems an obvious choice, but maybe someone has a more creative suggestion…lemme know!