This is the second in a series of articles about Samson
After the rocky start, we realized that Samson was a fighter with a strong will to survive. Within a couple of weeks, Samson was thriving on all the attention he was getting. Friends, relatives and visitors were dropping by to spend time with the little calf.
Before long, Samson was nibbling on hay and found that fresh mowed grass was a special treat. He graduated from a cup of milk a feeding every two hours, to a quart at a time four times a day. He was the slowest eater that we have ever worked with. He had good technique and he really wanted to eat, he was just s-l-o-w. Each feeding took at least an hour.
Samson noticed that there would be special treats hiding in the hay manger. Fresh fruits, vegetables and grass clippings were possible during feeding time. By keeping the yard and garden chemical free, the extras can be fed to the herd, and we incorporated them as often as we could. Samson liked grass clippings, and he complained if we forgot to cut an apple or pear to go with his meals, not loudly of course, he would sniff the hay then look at us with those big eyes and wait patiently for something good. But his favorite treat, was and still is, banana peels! He gets one a day at breakfast since it is a requirement to consume a banana a day at the house.
We took Samson with us when we went to Washington County Fair and the Clark County Fair, mostly because he still was using the milk bottle between feedings of hay. We wanted to make sure that he stayed on his schedule. By this time he had picked up the speed of eating and could down a two-quart bottle within a couple of minutes. We had to take a bucked of wind fall apples with us every day so fair goers could give Samson a nibble throughout the day. That little calf loved all the attention he was getting.
With the amount of hands-on attention this little guy had from the first day, he was very easy to train to wear a halter. He was the calming force in the barn as we got other animals used to halters, walking with handlers and riding in the stock trailer. During the Clark County Fair the temperature turned hot and Samson was uncomfortable. The Fair had put a misting structure on the lawn outside the livestock barn. Once an hour, we would take Samson out for a stroll and would walk right through the mister. The coating of water helped keep him cool and it was a great photo opportunity for many visitors who played in the water with Samson.
At seven months of age and weighing about 600 lbs., Samson graduated from the barnyard with the weaning calves and show cows. He was moved to the bull pen with the other yearlings. He had a whole new set of friends and new areas to investigate. Here, he had more freedom to lounge about under tall fir trees while he continued to grow. We set up a special pen for him to eat away from the other yearlings. His slow tendencies still linger, by giving him a little privacy he eats all his feed, while still eating the fruit and vegetables first. He is the only critter I have seen that prefers zucchini slices over most fruits.