Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cookie the Cow

I have been remiss in posting lately because life has really become crazy. It's the most wonderful time of the year for stress. Can I fast forward to January, please?

Anyways, we purchased a little heifer calf at the Marana Stockyard auction November 29, 2012. She is listed on her paperwork as a red and white heifer. She was sold as "60 days weaned" and her previous owner has no phone number so we can't find out more. That's what happens when you buy at an auction. It's a gamble in that you don't know a whole lot about what you're getting other than what she looks like. You can't go right up and pet the animals although you can stare at them for quite a while from outside the pens. You can look for problems. You can make guesses. Like...oh I think that one is a Hereford.

This little calf was one on a list of calves we wanted to bid on. We wanted a female, maybe two if the price was good. Things moved very fast at the auction and we only got one little one. During the long wait to bid on the calves I enjoyed a gigantic chocolate chip cookie from the Cattleman's Cafe. So, we named our new calf Cookie. We loaded her up no problem and brought her home.

She has turned out to be a sweetheart. She likes attention, likes to be scratched and petted and offers licks with her sandpaper tongue in return. She did develop a cold after we got her which the vet said she likely picked up at the auction. Our (fantastic, wonderful, helpful) vet taught me how to give neck shots and I administered them for three days to Cookie. But before I left my shot lesson, I showed her a picture of the calf and the vet said, "That's not a Hereford. That's a dairy cow."

This was interesting news which led to more questions.

"I wonder why someone would sell a heifer dairy cow at auction," the vet said. "Unless she's a freemartin."

"A what?" I asked.

"Twin to a bull calf. That means she's likely sterile."

A freemartin heifer takes on the testosterone of her brother in utero and it renders them infertile 90% of the time. Sometimes there are no outward signs but occasionally the cow's vulva is a little freaky looking. Yes, I could be caught staring at my calf's vulva, trying to decide if she was...different. Still not sure. It looks different than Karma's, but well, you know those things all have their own sort of uniqueness.

The vet is to come out January 12th and administer Brucellosis shots to both calves and she said she'd check around in Cookie's back end to see if she could tell what was going on in there.

Seriously, farming gets weird at times.

Karma is checking it out too.

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