Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Grafted Calf

Here are a few of our cows. Mostly mama and baby cows. Just hanging out in this cold weather we are having.


But look a little closer. Do you see something out of place? Something that looks like it doesn't belong?

How about now. Yep, see him? See that dairy calf?

Well....I know what you are thinking, but no. A dairy cow did not sneak into our field of black angus cows during mating season last year.

This dairy calf is a grafted calf.

I had no idea what a grafted calf was either, until a few weeks ago.

My husband came home and said, "Well, we had to graft a calf today." I looked at him cluelessly (which I do often) and asked him to please explain.

He told me that one of the baby calves died when it was born. Seems like it fell in a ditch or something. So that meant they had a mama cow without a baby cow, and that was not a good thing (I still need to ask him why that is not a good thing. Maybe cows can't handle engorgement?) Anyway...

So since they needed a calf for this mama, they went down to the dairy and bought a calf for $50. (Which I also don't understand all the way because then doesn't it leave another mama cow without a baby? Oh..wait...that mama cow is probably hooked up to a milking machine, so it doesn't matter, right?! Maybe I'm slowly figuring this out.)

Okay, so they bought the dairy calf and brought him back to our farm. Then they proceeded to skin the dead calf. Oh how fun. They took the hide of the dead calf and tied it onto the new dairy calf. This way, our mama cow would think it was HER calf because this new calf smelled like hers. My husband told me that they left the dead calf's skin on the dairy cow for a while, so that the dairy cow would be accepted and start nursing from our cow, thus adapting the correct smell.

And wahlah! It worked! Here is our little dairy cow in the midst of our black angus cows and is accepted as one of them, because he smells right. Dumb cows.

Although I was pretty excited about this cause I thought out loud, "Hey, and when this dairy cows grows up we can milk it!" To which my brother-in-law reminded me that it was a HE and not a SHE. Of course. The DAIRY would not want to sell their SHE cows for cheap.

So there you go. And yes, my husband still tells me he loves this new job. Even as we wade through manure, as he sticks his arm in their bums, as he shovels poop, and as he skins calves.


  1. Oh. My. Gosh.

    I am sad for that momma cow whose baby got taken away from her! Bought for a few bucks and toted away. Who is representing HER rights? (Is Ladd rolling his eyes?)


  2. I know.. don't you feel bad for the Dairy Mama Cow? One second her baby is there, and the other it's gone.
    Oh don't worry. He rolls his eyes quite often these days. :) :)