The story of Junior

Once upon a time… June, 2010 to be more precise.  There was a Holstein cow on a dairy farm somewhere in Manitoba Canada, that gave birth to a set of twins.  A boy and a girl.  Normally that would be good news… if you weren’t trying to run a dairy farm.  Their misfortune became our fortune and for a minor sum, we brought 2 cute, little 6-day old calves home.

I bottle fed them, nurtured and trained them.  One winter morning the heifer calf wouldn’t get up and despite all our efforts died later that day.  All we can say is, these things happen.  As much as we like to think we are in control of life and death, we really aren’t. We’re only stewards.

6 days old. Cute Wallace-and-Gromit face

1 1/2 yrs old. Scary don't-wave-anything-red face

Fast forward to today.  “Junior” is now a 1 1/2 year old steer.  His back is at the height of my shoulder, his legs are long and his head is big!  Pardon me for saying so, but how does he see anything through those googly eyes? We’re not in the habit of naming animals that we intend to raise for food, but for the sake of reference, we call him Junior.  More as a term of endearment, really.  But somehow that name doesn’t suit him anymore or maybe it keeps him in his place?  He knows he has horns and likes to use them.  I can still lead him by the halter but not very far.  I’d rather not let him know he could have his own way if he wanted it.

This is not The End, not for him just yet, anyway.

Halter set as small as it would go

New, bigger halter

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6 responses

  1. Neat to see how he’s grown. I agree, we are just stewards of God’s creatures. I’m sorry to hear about the heifer. 😦
    Would you recommend hand raising a calf from a few days old?

    • Angela, absolutely! I would definitely recommend raising a calf from days-old. Inspite of being raised on milk replacer, he’s done tremendously. He’s easy to handle and easy to manage. Even though he looks scary in the pictures, I can still go up to him and pat him and guide him with his halter. I don’t like dealing with wild livestock and this is the best way to avoid that. It makes life a lot simpler.
      Thanks for asking. 🙂

  2. Oh Junior! He is very cute. I’ve always had a thing for baby cows and buffalo. My husband thinks it’s weird but also endearing. Thanks for visiting me at Beyond The Peel, I hope to hear for about your adventures in the prairies. I grew up in the prairies and I’m quite fond of them. Especially those amazing skies!

  3. We always named our animals when we were kids growing up ~ each animal had a name and as kids we would discuss at dinner who we were munching on. As my siblings and I became teenagers, the names changed from “Sara” or “brownie” to “Dinner” or “Summer Burger” My parents just rolled their eyes at us. However, for us, it was a fact of life ~ we were raising the animal to put food on the table, so name or no name we were not attached to them.

    • That can be a hard lesson for little kids, even myself sometimes. But I think it’s important to know where our food comes from. Thanks for your thoughts on that, Laurie.

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