Last winter was not the first time we’d had a hypothermic calf, but it WAS the first time since I got my newly remodeled bathroom. Some might be asking “bathroom??” what does a bathroom have to do with a cold calf? Keep reading and you’ll find out.
Last December we were expecting #22 to calve…she was a veteran cow so we never expected any problems from her. John was returning from town and bringing our 3 granddaughters out to spend the night with us. He pulled in the drive and noticed #22 off by herself, so he went to check things out. As it happened, she decided to calve early, and on one of the coldest, most blustery days of winter. It was snowing lightly and the wind was blowing hard, causing an extreme wind chill. The calf was slow to start and just laid there in the cold. John picked up the calf, put him in the truck and brought him up to the house.
Unaware of what was going on outside, I heard a bunch of commotion on the porch and went to see what it was. When I opened the door, I was met by John carrying a small, cold, wet calf, 3 excited little girls and 2 concerned border collies! “I’m taking him to the bathtub” he said, and off John went down the hall. We had done this before to save a frozen calf, but as I said before, THIS time it was in my newly remodeled bathroom! (The bathroom remodel I had waited patiently for YEARS to get.) We jumped into action and put him in the tub and ran warm water in to raise his body temperature. Once we got him warming up, then we moved him to the bath mat on the floor and quickly dried him off with at least 8 towels…so now I have a dirty bathroom to clean and laundry to wash! John took him back to the porch where our 2 concerned border collies sat anxiously waiting. We laid a couple of towels down on the dog bed and laid the lifeless calf out. Now, the dogs always express concern when we have a calf in distress, but the look of concern on Jess’s face quickly changed to disgust when the calf got HER bed! We cranked up the little electric heater and told each granddaughter to start rubbing him down to get the blood circulating. All 3 eagerly jumped right in to do their part and they also gave him the name “Brownie”. As you can see, Jack did his part to help out too…what a sweet cow dog he is!
We left him on the porch to warm up overnight. By the next morning, as you can see, still in their pajamas, it was the first place the girls went when they woke up. Brownie had warmed up and finally had enough strength to stand and drink more colostrum.
Once he was hungry again, John took him out to the barn where his mama was waiting for him. Brownie had a rough start, but with LOTS of TLC he pulled through and is still with us today!
I’m sure I’m not the only farm wife that has had a calf (or other farm animal) in the house to save it. When you have a small operation like ours, you make do with what you have and you do everything you can. Some days life on the farm is difficult in more ways than one, but I wouldn’t live anywhere else. Do you think it would it be weird to put a Roy-L-Heat Animal Warmer on my Christmas list??? Well, I don’t think so…. and I MIGHT DO JUST THAT! Wendi