Never Underestimate an Old Lady

I thought that we were all done calving.  My favorite cow….yes, I have a favorite cow….gave me a pretty big shock this week.

A new baby calf!!  I had convinced myself that this cow was not pregnant.  She had very little udder development, and she was showing no signs of impending doom….I mean labor….so I was pretty sure she had birthed her last calf.  Or, as my husband so sympathetically said … “she has layed her last egg”.

Isn’t she just a vision of youth, glowing with her role as a new mother?

Except, this cow is #80 F.  The F represents the year that she was born.  If my math is correct, and it rarely is, the year she was born was 1996.  That makes her 15 years old.  That’s about 156 in people years. 

Cows have their first calf when they are 2 years old.  If she’s 15, that means this is her 12th calf.  For those of you keeping up with the math, I know this should be her 13th calf….but she didn’t calve last year.  I can hear the real cattlemen gasping as they read this. 

You see, keeping a cow who didn’t raise a calf for another year is sort of taboo and very ill-advised in the cattle business.  I know this.  I strictly adhere to this rule….mostly.  This cow is my favorite.  That gave her a pass.  But don’t tell my husband.  The questionable fertility of my favorite cow just may have passed by unnoticed by him last year, and I just may have chosen to keep that little tidbit private between me and the cow.  I think I may be losing it a little.

So, with the knowledge that this is a 15-year-old cow who has just begun raising her 12th calf, let’s look at that picture of glowing youth and vitality again….

…..ya, I know this look.  It’s a look that says ‘I am never doing this again’.  ‘If you bring that bull back into my pasture I’m likely to run him over’.

But I think I will bring that bull back to her pasture one more time.  You see, she is perfectly healthy and she has the best calves.  She raised many high performing bull calves who were sent to a bull test station for the Beefbooster cattle breeding program.  Unfortunately, all of her calves are bulls.  That’s right – 12 boys.  I think that calf #13 might be lucky and I’ll finally get that replacement heifer so I can let this old girl go.

I know she’ll do a good job with this little guy.  She’s a great mom.  Maybe a little less enthusiastic than she used to be, but hers will be a very nice calf in the fall.  She has shown us that even though she might be a bit late getting her job done, this old lady can still keep up to those younger girls with more youthful udders.  At least for one more year.

Good luck little bull#12!  It will be kind of like being raised by your great-grandma.  You better just follow her around incase she forgets where she put you.  You will likely have to remind her to feed you, but I know you’ll get along just fine.

“I refuse to admit that I am more than 52….even if that does make my sons illegitimate.”        Nancy Astor



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