It had been bitterly cold for a few weeks, but fortunately, the weatherman was finally predicting some increase in temps. Calving season was quickly approaching, and one can only imagine the possible dangers of a newly born, water covered baby calf falling on top of the cold, ice-crusted ground. And although it was down in the 40’s when our 1st baby girl came, that’s a lot warmer than freezing!
March and October are our big calving months, so we are always on high alert around here during those times. The Farmer is up and out on the 4-wheeler early every morning and early evening checking to see if we have any new additions to our herd. It’s kinda’ like hunting Easter eggs, except not as colorful and a whole lot bigger. 🙂
The mamas like to hide their little ones to keep them safe from predators like coyotes, and at this time of year, they think The Farmer is one, too. So The Farmer is always watchful and careful where he is driving.
The cattle do a great job of protecting their little ones, however, after a few of the calves had been safely brought into this world, we were awakened in the middle of the night to the call of the wild—wild coyotes! If you have never heard a coyote howl, it can be very unsettling. They yipe, yipe, yipe, and then there’s a high-pitched howling sound. Sometimes it sounds like people calling out to each other with crazy laughter, but usually, to me, it sounds like a bunch of frightened, screaming children being chased by a tormented banshee.
As you can imagine, The Farmer jumped out of bed and went off on the 4-wheeler to scare off the pack of vicious, varmints, invading our valuable bovine. (wow, that was good—Am I the only one that appreciates that statement?) 🙂
The next morning, the fog was so heavy that it was fairly difficult to see much. As The Farmer searched for new calves, checked the mamas to make sure they were doing well, and counted the babies that we knew we had, he came up one short on his count. A calf was missing, and mama didn’t seem too worried. (bad mama)
He searched everyplace he could to no avail. He went out later to search again. The calf was gone, and mama still didn’t seem worried, which is a sign that she has no motherly instincts.
Losing a baby calf is a big deal! If one purchases a newborn calf, it may cost a couple of hundred dollars, but to lose a calf that you were preparing for costs a whole lot more. As a producer, there’s a lot of cost on every baby born around here. We provide a place for mama for 9 months; we’ve built waterers to ensure she has plenty of clean water; grasses have been planted and nourished; fences have been put up for her safety; we do what we can to keep her healthy; she always has plenty of food to keep her strong; and we bought her a bull. So when that baby comes along, we’re expecting a money maker.
Well, there are no second chances around here—if you are not a good mama, then you are a goner! This cow was going to the auction barn, if the calf wasn’t found.
The only hope The Farmer could hold onto was the fact that he had not seen any trace of the calf that the coyotes may have attacked. Not wanting to be too graphic, you can imagine. The next morning when he came back from his daily round, he was all smiles. The calf that had been lost was found! (apologies to mama 🙂 )
As I thought about the whole situation and the couple of days that we fretted over a missing calf, I was reminded of the parables found in Luke 15. Jesus taught that losing anything valuable is worth the effort to recover it. That’s why when sin separated the human race from God, Jesus came to this earth to find us, pay for us, and give us an opportunity to be redeemed back to the Father. We are that valuable to Him.
“For God so loved the world [us], that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world [us]; but that the world [we] through Him might be saved.”