Sunday, November 1, 2009

A cow is born

Some time today Brandy went quietly to the top of the paddock and gave birth to a bull calf. All the children and the neighbours trekked to the top of the paddock to meet the calf and congratulate Brandy.

The calf was having trouble latching on and Gilbert, our neighbor, got the teat and stuck it in his mouth. He was still having trouble when we all walked back down the hill, but Gilbert, who grew up on a farm, said he looked pretty healthy and thought he would eventually work it all out. Brandy was being very patient and protective. It is interesting that she chose to birth in the corner of the paddock furthermost from our house .

I must say, I was a bit disappointed to see it was a bull, knowing a bull would be destined for the dinner plate. Nobody wants a half dairy, half beef cow. The children are already begging to keep the calf, and we will for a while, but he will have to go eventually. Bill wants to sell him for beef, but I want to have him slaughtered for our own meat, which Bill will not hear of.
"I can't eat a pet, " he says.

To me it is ridiculous to sell him to the abattoir for very little money, when we could have him slaughtered for a very reasonable fee, for our own table. My final words to Bill were: "When he is fully grown and charging you in the paddock maybe you will change your mind."
"Maybe," he said.
Having said all that, I imagine when the time comes I may not be able to go through with it.

I have been told to wait until the calf does its first poo before milking. Brandy's teats were dripping with milk this afternoon.

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