CLOUD 9 WALKERS
Orphan 2-week old Brangus calf
I've wanted grandkids since I was 19 years old, but I never thought my first would be jet black with huge floppy ears!
Apparently, one of my Brangus heifers had a really painful time delivering her first big bull calf, and as soon as he hit the ground, she left that Ďbad newsí behind! Poor "Boozer" got no colostrum, no milk, no loving, not even a backward glance from his mother. He walked around for awhile trying to nurse off of other cows and even other calves, but he found no takers. When he decided to lie back down and rest, the herd moved on and his mother went with them, leaving him defenseless.
We left him there for a few hours, hoping that the heiferís maternal instinct would kick in and she would return to him, but the sun was hot, evening was coming on, and all we could think about was the danger of hogs or coyotes.
We put him in the back of the truck and hauled him to the barn, and I ran to town to get powdered colostrum and milk replacer. After an hour of trying with no success to get him to suckle a bottle (somehow, he had lost his sucking instinct) I had to feed him with an esophageal tube, which is pretty tricky, because if you put the tube down the wrong pipe, you will drown the calf. Fortunately, my instincts were keen and I had no trouble pumping his fluids into his stomach.
At first, he was very weak, and immediately developed a mild case of scours. On Friday night, he seemed to be even weaker, and when I put the tube down his throat, he barely seemed to notice. I pumped the electrolytes to him, but that evening, when I quit work for the evening, I really figured that he would not survive the night, and I went to bed sad.
Early the next morning, I was in the shower when the phone rang, and it was a passer-by asking if I had a black bull calf, because he had found one walking down the shoulder of the highway. I told him yes, but there was no way that it was mine, because mine was only half alive, and there was no way that he had the strength to get out of his stall, out of the barn, out of the pasture and walk a quarter of a mile way.
I jumped out of the shower, got dressed and checked anyway, and IT WAS BOOZER!!! During the night, he had made a complete turnaround, and now, when it was time to feed him, he bucked and kicked and fought me.
In the next ten minutes, three really nice state troopers had pulled over in my driveway, lights flashing and I'm sure my neighbors thought I was running a drug house or something. Boozer had made a turnaround during the night and it took two of the troopers to hold him down for me to be able to feed him with the esophageal tube.
He still refused to suckle, and in fact, spit anything we put in his mouth right out. I wasnít going to have all this help around all the time, and I began to think of Boozer as my next barbeque, if you know what I mean!
The next day, my cute little 14-yr-old neighbor, Paige, came over and sat with him, loved on him, encouraged him (all of which we had already tried), and finally called her grandmother to ask her advice. Grandma suggested that we put a raw egg and some cooked oatmeal in the bottle with the milk replacer. By now, I was ready to try anything, since I was not going to have all these people around all the time to help me hold him down and feed him if he didn't start helping himself.
Paige gave him the egg/oatmeal bottle, and miracle of miracles -- he started sucking!!!
That weekend, we had a camping trip already planned, and Boozer had to have his bottles, so we loaded him in the trailer and took him with us. He was a big hit at the campground, following me around while I fed the horses and let the kids pet him.
Now, we have sooooooo much fun letting visitors feed him. We don't tell them what happens after he finishes the bottle . . . (he chases his 'new mom' relentlessly, butting and begging for more!). As soon as he starts eating feed, heís going out in the pasture, because I donít want a 2,000 lb. DOG Ė and I sure want him to have a four-legged mentality as opposed to thinking heís human.
A few days after we returned from camping, a friendís twin 6-yr-old boys gave him his morning bottle, and I was in the house washing dishes, when I heard the boys screeching. Boozer had chased the boys onto the front porch, begging for more milk, and when I opened the door, he was ON THE PORCH, standing there staring at me, licking his lips. I canít wait to wean the little sucker, because now Iím having nightmares of a full-grown bull at my front door.
This is right before Boozer started taking a bottle -- his instinct was telling him to look somewhere for dinner!
On Sesame Street, they would ask you, "What's out of place in this picture?"
Yeah, we're crazy! Boozer has to have a bottle twice daily, and we already had camping plans, so we took him with us!
LEFT: Seriously contemplating following me into the camper for more milk! (He actually got his front feet up on the steps.)
RIGHT: No cud yet, but here he is practicing being a big ol' lazy bull chewing his cud.
Double click here to see video of Boozer annoying Taylor on 9/15/07:
Bailey follows his "milk shake machine" around waiting for a reward. Yeah, it's disgusting! But he's just a dog . . . and I still love him . . . but he doesn't get ANY chances to lick me in the face!
"Mommy, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaase can I have another bottle?"
"They're not leaving without me!"
LEFT: Taylor gives Boozer his evening bottle;
RIGHT: Bailey (the dog) lies nearby while Bailey (the boy) takes a nap with Boozer.
Click here to see silly Brenden taunting Boozer.
LEFT: Bailey and Brenden give Boozer his morning bottle on 9/15/07. RIGHT: Boozer pretends to be a black labrador.
He meandered around and found his bottle, which was air drying after being cleaned. In the video to the left, the boys are playing ball with Tex and Bailey with Boozer in the background. Watch Tex jump in the air and catch the ball.
Click on the arrow to see a video of Boozer begging: