Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Precocious Newborn British White Heifer

J.West's Lillie Bell and her Carter sired heifer, Sept. 2011
I'm really loving my September born calves, the nice weather change is easier on both the dams and the calves, and because it's no longer hot as Hades even in the evenings, we can sit outside and watch the little ones scamper around and head butt one another and generally feel good to be alive. 

But I've got one newborn heifer that is behaving rather oddly.  Up until this morning,  I was blaming this on her first calf heifer dam, J.West's Lillie Bell - thinking Lillie Bell was just not paying enough attention to her little heifer, not giving her the right moo of instructions to keep up with the herd or something.  Lillie Bell's heifer was born on Monday evening, the 26th, and on Wednesday morning the pretty little thing was all by herself snuggled up in goat weed along a cross fence about 50 feet off of U.S. Highway 69.  That morning I moved her several feet away from the cross fence, as I've had them sort of roll over and under and get up and find themselves in the wrong pasture in the past.

Lillie Bell's Heifer Calf - Very nice, notice how wide she is......
 Later on in the day something made me jump up and head out to check on her again.  Guess where the little heifer was?  She was on the shoulder of the highway with her pretty little head peering through the barbed wire back toward home.  Fortunately, she is very calm and I just lifted one of her front legs over the wire and then the other, and of course she full well knew what to do to go through the fence after that.  Afterwards, she just about flat refused to get off the fence line and walk with me on up the hill where most of the herd were gathered under a grove of hickory trees.  I finally gave up and carried her the majority of the way, a good 250 feet by my estimation. 

This heifer had a chest tape of 27 inches, which translates to a birth weight of about 64 lbs.  I didn't take a live weight on her, I've been trying to be a little kinder to my back lately.  I now wish I'd have done so, as I can't imagine that I could actually carry 64 lbs that far, and uphill as well.  Granted it was hard and I had to stop once and rest myself, but that's a lot of awkward weight to carry.  Sometimes in particularly thick or chunky built newborns, a chest measure can overstate birth weight.

This morning I went out to check the herd, and of course the little heifer was curled up napping right on the fence line of the highway.  I really couldn't believe my eyes.  She is going on 4 days old, her dam has had 4 days to learn a little something about keeping up with her kiddo, yet here she was all by herself in that dangerous spot.  However, this time her dam came down the hill when she saw me with her calf.

Lillie Bell's Heifer Contemplating Crossing the Fence.......
 Lillie Bell came straight away and somehow I think the tone of her mooing was one of absolute irritation with her baby, as in "Why don't you mind me!".  I had my camera this morning and shot some footage of them both.  In the video you'll see the little heifer giving some serious consideration to going through the fence yet again, rather than following her dam back up the hill.  So I'll not blame Lillie Bell any more, as it appears her daughter is just refusing to do as she's told.

The heifer calf was sired by J.West's S.S. Carter, and Lillie Bell is an El Presidente daughter from an Elvis sired daughter.