First let me say that I take each animal's life on my farm with great concern and compassion. TS is no different.
Today his mom, Valerie, apparently would not let him nurse. This morning he was bright and bold, this afternoon he was again weak.
To make a long story short, we penned Valerie who had a royal fit and tied her up.
We tried to put TS on her teats but he seemed not to know what to do or perhaps he was unable...that I will never know.
I'd suggested having milk replacer on hand, but the other half was against it. Said...*he'd do fine, he just had to do it.*
Now I know enough that Valerie is a very young heifer and perhaps her teats were sore...or perhaps she is not yet mature enough. She seems to want to be a good mom, but TS had a tough start.
Frustrated, my husband asked if I had 'any better ideas'. Yeah it was a tense moment.
I said 'of course I did' and proceeded to try and find a baby bottle.
I found a small container and a large 2 oz. syringe with no needle.
I milked Valerie. She has never been milked. She was very unhappy with me at first...
Anyone who knows a Dexter knows how short they are. I had to milk very close to the ground and one time she kicked a partially full container out of my hand.
I was determined.
I was able to milk her.
TS wasn't real receptive at first, but I held him in my lap and dripped the warm milk into his mouth.
After 2 oz. he began to get lively and greedy. Even stood up to take the milk.
After about 7 1/2 oz. he seemed full.
I stripped Valerie of the rest of her milk and then with hubby's help, let her go.
Oh yeah, I was a mess, warm fresh milk all over my clothes and dirt and manure all over me. But I was pleased and hopeful that my efforts had paid off.
Now here is the funny part.
TS was content to lay down and go to sleep after a brief spurt of energy.
He was shivering lightly.
I grabbed him and put him in my lap, close to me.
Hubby asked if I was going to let TS sleep with me.
I quipped 'No, but I am tempted to sleep with him in the pasture!'
And the truth is, if it had been colder, I would have.
I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll be out there tonight.
After all, I'm a momma too.