Sunday, March 13, 2011
I told Katherine to get a towel and a pan of alfalfa cubes, so we could dry the calf, which was shivering, and then encourage Molly to follow us to the barn. While we waited, I walked up to the calf and felt under its belly to discern whether it was a bull or a heifer. "It's a boy," I told Mike.
When Katherine got back, Molly was very happy to follow us with the alfalfa cubes, and Mike wrapped the towel around the calf and picked it up. When we arrived at the barn, Mike put the calf on the ground and went to open the barn door, and that's when everything got a little crazy. Our guard dog came trotting up to say hi, and Molly charged at him, smacking him with her head. He growled at her, and I yelled at him. He backed off with his tail between his legs, but Molly really went into maternal-protection mode and started pushing and tossing the calf, who went flying into the water trough head first! Katherine lunged towards the calf to pull him out of the trough, and Molly charged at Katherine. Thank goodness she is polled -- meaning she has no horns -- or Katherine would still be in the ICU, because Molly hit her right in the chest.
Mike scooped up the dripping-wet calf and hurried into the barn, while I offered Molly alfalfa cubes by hand to encourage her to follow me. After we put them in the barn together, Molly kept pushing the calf. It is only a ten-foot wide stall, so after a couple of pushes, she was pushing him against the wall. I had to keep reminding myself that this is a calf, which is a lot tougher than a tiny goat kid, and Molly is only trying to protect him from the dogs, which were still barking and howling. I gave her several flakes of alfalfa, hoping that would take her mind off the calf. It worked -- somewhat. As we continued doing chores, we kept hearing banging sounds coming from the stall, but every time we looked in there, the calf seemed to be fine.
Saturday morning he was running around, and Molly had calmed down considerably. Today, the little calf was coming up to us when we walked in the stall, and Molly let Katherine handle her udder. We'll start milking her in a few days. We don't have a name for the calf yet. There is a 75 percent chance he is polled, because both of his parents are polled, and a lot of people would probably love to have a red polled bull -- and after hearing about Molly and Katherine's altercation, you can understand why most people don't want a horned bull. If he's not polled, he might become beef, so a name like Chuck or Stew would be most appropriate.