Loaner Cow with Calf

Black angus cow and calf in barn with manger full of hay.Earlier in the year, a neighbor needed a few cows to eat down all the grass he had growing in several pastures. He did not want to purchase more animals so we loaned him three cows to act as mowers for the growing vegetation.

The neighbor knew he would not be able to spend time with the animals, so we took him three older (well-established) cows with mild temperament. Every couple of weeks he would open the gate for a new pasture and the cows would casually walk to the new area for grass. The neighbor has several areas of pasture area with creek side access, and tall fir trees so the loaner cows had lots of space and lush grass all summer long.

Since loaning the animals, the herd of three has grown since all three mothers had calved while at the neighbor farm.

This cow is CeeCee and her calf Crude. CeeCee had an accident last week and injured her left eye and has lost sight in that eye. She had been hanging around down in the woods and may have gotten poked with a stick. She is perfectly healthy except for the inability to see on the one side.

We were worried about leaving CeeCee at the neighbor farm for fear that someone could get hurt when moving her from one pasture to another.  Cows have big heads, if she were to swing her head in order to be able to see, she could knock a person over easily.

Also, it is time for Crude to be weaned from his mother, so we decided the best way to handle both issues would be to bring CeeCee and her calf back home to the farm. Once the calf has gotten used to the idea of eating in the barn with the other calves that are being weaned, we will move him away from his mother for the weaning process.

The first day home, he found out that the head stanchions (head gates) clatter when he sticks his head into the manger. He was very hesitant at first, the noise and the movement were new to him. He also was bothered by seeing me moving around the barn as I fed the other animals. Apparently, I seemed sketchy to him. He would only attempt to nose around the stanchions after I would leave the barn.

On the second day, he put his head into the manger and ate a bite of grain along with the sweet grass hay. He still stood back while I was in the barn, but at least he was not pacing the length of the pen while I was in eyesight.

By the third day, he was locking into the stanchions while I was in the barn. He comfortably ate hay and grain and was treated to a few chopped apples. The apples were new to him and at first avoided the apples and just munched on the grain in the tub. He soon learned the apples were sweet and now he stands and waits for me to cut an apple for him before sticking his head into the manger. I will slowly start letting him smell my hands and petting him as I walk past during feeding time.

It will be just three more days before we move him away from his mother.


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