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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fun on the farm

At first glance you might think you're seeing twins, but that is not the case. The one standing was born just a day or two before this picture was taken. The other one is a few days older.

This cow (see photo below) gave birth to only one of these calves, the one by her neck. The other one is an orphan of sorts. That is to say, that the owner of his mother sold the baby in order to keep the milk all to himself. The baby, after all would have drunk most of the milk the cow could make and that meant less money for the owner. To top off the calf's lack of value, he was born male, which means less money all together. Bulls are not where the money lies, you see. They are a dime a dozen. In a country which prefers poultry, beef is simply not in great demand. Milk, on the other hand, is and you need a cow for that,  not a bull. Yes, sad but true. An "orphan" was made strictly for the money.

Paolo, the man in the picture, is my father's hired hand. He is the owner of this cow and of course the baby she just had. He paid $1,500 pesos for the newly born "orphaned" calf. That translates roughly to $45 USD. Now Paolo has two calves but only one mama cow. He keeps them on the pasture across the street from my father's property which makes caring for them most easy and convenient. He can pop on over anytime. My pop isn't a slave driver by any means! Paolo also promised my parents all the fresh milk they wanted. Well, who could argue with that?
Paolo tempts the calf with a taste of mother's milk

So, Paolo had to entice the little orphan to accept a different mama and also hope that the mama cow wouldn't balk at the introduction of a calf she had not birthed. She didn't seem too receptive to the notion at first. She gave the new calf a curious glance but seemed to merely shrug and say, "What's one more?" Perhaps that was a bit of imagination on my part. ;-) I'm no Doctor Dolittle, after all!  The baby would not latch onto the mama cow.  He seemed to know she wasn't his mother. Eventually though, he got hungry enough that he did accept the new mama as his own. Paolo reports they are all doing fine.
daddy bull.
All except for the daddy. He didn't seem happy at all. Perhaps he wasn't getting enough attention. Alas, it is always the mama that gets all the attention! As it should be!


  1. You can get free/cheap calves in the US for the same reason too. I have a friend who has raised a few this way. That cow and bull in your pics don't look even close to the same breed- do you know what breed they are? She looks like a holstein.

  2. The cow most likely is what you say. I don't think they are the same breed but Paolo probably wouldn't know if I asked him what breeds they are and the name in Spanish might be something totally different than the English. Next time I call my mom I'll ask. Of course she'll say, "What in the world do you want to know that for???" LOL!


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