Friday, February 17, 2012


A couple days ago, I got a call from a friend - the same friend who I brought back three bull calves for, when I went to pick up our baby boy. He wanted three bottle calves for his daughter's 4H projects.

It seems that one of his calves had died, and now one daughter was without a project. He (Mike) wanted to know if the place we got them from would have more. After a quick call to the "calf guy", we arranged a road trip to pick up another calf for his daughter. I was just the driver, and in no way, shape or form was allowed to buy another calf.

Yup. I was under STRICT orders - NO MORE CALVES.

This is what happens when the cats stay home, and the mice are allowed to run free on a road trip....

We arrived at the dairy barn at 9:15 in the morning, and backed up to the calf pen, and watched as the barn manager opened the garage door to reveal 10-12 nice looking calves waiting for "adoption". The first one I saw was a medium red, with white patches all over him. The first thing I did was tell Mike that "I WANT that one!" as I hurriedly grabbed my phone so as to send my lovely wife a photo.

Since we already had a two week old calf at home, Deb wondered if we NEEDED another one, but this one was just so ....


My little favorite had long eyelashes, small features, good coloring, medium frame (not big and heavy), good legs, etc, etc, and wasn't as "agressive" with the others, or the feeding bottles.

Newest Calf

It took some doing, but I finally convinced her that we could use this calf, and - if need be - sell the one we had at home.

In the mean time - I saw Mike eyeing MY calf, and actually talking to the man about buying it. I stepped in - just in the nick of time, and confirmed that I wanted it - just before Mike did. He did pick out a nice one - that he liked the looks of actually a little bit better.

Well - we loaded up our new children, and headed out the driveway. Mike made the comment about mine being "fixed". I said "He's only 3-4 days old - they wouldn't even have DROPPED yet - there's no way he could be fixed."

We stopped the truck, and tried to climb back in (the tail gate was wired on), to check. We couldn't get a good "feel" so decided that it was impossible, and headed on our way.

The trip home was uneventful, and actually fairly quick - we had left at 7 am, and got back to Mike's at High Noon. We unloaded his calf, and I headed home to unload mine.

That's where this "tail" turns -

Awhile later, I went out to feed the newbie. There I was, sitting on a hay bale, holding the bottle, when the calf pulled away from the nipple, and backed up a couple steps. I saw the tail lift straight up, and figured I better see what condition the "poop" was in, so I'd know a little better how it was feeling. To my surprise, It was clear and RUNNY!

Then, it dawned on me - "That's PEE"! - and it was coming from under the TAIL, not under the belly!


Well - right then and thar - I new SOMETHING was a "miss"....

I did a closer inspection, and found no boy "parts" anywhere to be seen. Under the tail was a bit messy, so I cleaned it off a bit and, sure enough, there were GIRL parts back there! I felt down under the belly, where the main boy part would have been, and only found a "tuft" of hair, and the umbilical cord, although there was a small "outtie" for a "belly button".

Now, my concern shifted to this calf being a "Free Martin", so I contacted the dairy to find out if this little one was part of a twin set. This morning, we called our local Vet - who's been at his job since the 1960's - and asked him if there was a way to tell if she was Free Martin or not. He said to bring her in, and he'd check her over - BUT -

"You know, those big dairies don't often make mistakes like that, and sell a heifer instead of a bull calf". I told him that this was a LARGE dairy - the largest in the state "Yeah, but even if you had a hundred cows, it would be rare if one slipped through", he said.

That's when I told him that this dairy controls well over six THOUSAND cows.....

"Well....", he says, "Anything is might just get lucky and got yourself a "premium", then".

So, we loaded up the new girl, and headed into see Doc. He grabbed his jacket, some gloves, and an unknown object (that I don't even WANT to know what was), and headed out to the truck to see what he could see. After cleaning her up, and violating her with that object, he pronounced that she was "open" inside, not closed like a Free Martin would be. He said he couldn't GUARANTEE her being able to produce a calf, but odds were greatly in our favor. I told him that his track record has been pretty high, so we'll name her first born bull calf after him.

He just smiled, laughed a bit, then told us "congrats, and have a good day". His bill was a whopping $4.50.

At any rate - when we picked her up - and thought she was a he - I had NO inkling that I should check for boy parts - the man knew we were after breeding stock, so the Free Martin thing never even crossed my mind, until later on. It is probably a GOOD thing I DID NOT check, though. If I HAD, then her true gender would have been made known on the spot, and my pretty calf wouldn't have come home with me.

The dairy, for their part, said a "mistake is a mistake - you bought her fair and square".

I suppose that, when you're dealing with 6000 plus cows, one heifer isn't gonna "make or break" you.

Maybe it was a GOOD thing the mice were let out on their own....


  1. What a beautiful critter. Hey--you didn't mention her name! I say Pat. :)

  2. The "MICE" have all the luck it seems! Pretty girl! Keep us informed on her progress!


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