Our little orphan, Annabelle

Two weeks ago today one of our older cows (25+ years) had been in labor for more than a day and finally on Saturday morning had a beautiful little red/white faced heifer.

Annabelle-one day old, tired, cold and just lost her mama.

Annabelle-one day old, tired, cold and just lost her mama.

Her Mom died shortly after delivery and we were lucky to find Annabelle because she wasn’t near her Mom.  We think Mom couldn’t get up to nurse her and the other cows came to investigate and Annabelle followed them looking for warm nourishment.  Hubby found her about 100 yards from her Mom, wet, muddy and very cold.  She was covered with the afterbirth film and mud.  Hubby came back to the house to get me and we loaded her on the back of the pickup and brought her to the house.  Luckily it was a very nice, sunny morning but still  cool.  I first got some regular milk we drink, warmed it and added about a 1/2 cup of Karo syrup and took it to her.

Calf bottle full, warm and sweetened.

Calf bottle full, warm and sweetened.


I didn’t have to work with her much at all to get her to take about a pint and then I let her rest.  I got a very warm bucket of warm with some baby shampoo mixed in it and proceeded to bathe her as best as I could and covered her with a heavy towel to keep the cool air off until she quit shivering.  She lay quietly in the yard and our other new baby, Gyp, decided to make Annabelle her new best friend.  She licked her and lay with her and nipped at her trying to get her to play.


After another hour passed, she seemed a little more active and got up and walked around in the yard so I decided to try to get some more milk in her.  She was ready for that bottle and grab hold quick.  Gyp hung around to keep her mouth cleaned off (she’s so funny) and we got another pint in her.


Then we prepared her a good warm bed in the small garage close to the house.  This building has electricity in it and made it convenient for those after dark feedings.  I filled a  clean five gallon buck with water for her and hoped she would find it and not knock it over and fill her bed with water which was a little below the bucket.  While I was preparing her new home, Gyp watched after her.

Gyp watching Annabelle in the yard while I prepared her bedding.

Gyp watching Annabelle in the yard while I prepared her bedding.


We fed her a full bottle in the mornings before I went to work and during the day Hubby would feed her 1/2 bottle every four hours and then I fed her again around 6:00 in the evening after I got home from work.  She is doing really well and growing so fast!

BUT. . . . . . . .

Another of the older cows gave birth to a dead calf on Wednesday morning and she is usually such a good mother.  Her calf was a red heifer and Hubby decided to try another trick we’ve used in the past.  He took the dead calf away from the mother and put Mama in a small barn near the house and gave her some extra grain.  While she was eating he took a large area of hide from the dead calf and tied it onto Annabelle’s back.

Annabelle with an extra coat & a little trick to find a new mom.

Annabelle with an extra coat & a little trick to find a new mom.

He then walked Annabelle over to the barn to meet a new mama (we hoped).  After some more grain, some more coaxing Annabelle to the new area of milk and lots of prayers, the new mama and orphan calf quickly took to each other.  Hubby urged me to stay away from Annabelle for a couple days to make sure the adoption would work and I can happily announce that Annabelle’s new mother is very protective of her and Annabelle seems to be nursing and nuzzling her new Mom constantly.

Annabelle's new mom

Annabelle’s new mom






The only downside to this story is that Gyp doesn’t have someone to chase and play!  That’s another story in the making!

10 thoughts on “Our little orphan, Annabelle

  1. marysmemories

    What a lovely story with a happy ending. Gyp must be missing his/her new play-pal. Maybe they will discover each other when walking in the calf’s field.



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