MiniMoo was born premature in September 2020.
Her mother, one of our beef cows, knew straight away that something was wrong with her and decided she was not worth looking after!
She was half the size of the other calves born the same week. We are used to raising calves, so I decided to give her a chance. The vet happened to be around that day, and he came to have a look at her. His words were “she is really minute, I doubt that she will make it!”. Nevertheless, I asked him to help. She was breathing heavily so he gave MiniMoo a shot of antibiotics and then some vitamins.
We then had to teach her to drink from a bottle. She was so small that the teat we normally use for calves was far too big. Luckily I had a smaller teat – the size that is used for lambs: 500ml of fresh warm Jersey milk in a bottle with the small teat and there I go to teach her to drink. After a few attempts, she got the swing of it (I must admit that heifers learn far quicker than bulls!).
It was still cold at this time of the year and MiniMoo needed to be warm at night. We added more grass in her pen, and she got given a jacket by Mocha, one of our dogs. Because of her size, MiniMoo couldn’t get large amounts of milk at a time. Greg and I went out in the cold night to feed her a couple of times and then we had to leave Mother Nature to do her best. To my surprise, she was still alive the following morning. I was delighted!
Because of the special treatment she needed, MiniMoo got very used to us all. Soon she was out of her pen during the day, running around with the other calves. But we had put her back in at night to protect her from predators. Until the nights got warmer, she always wore her doggy jacket on! She figured out quickly where the milk came from and if we were not fast enough, we often found her at the dairy door. I must say that because of her size she was able to fit between the pole and the gate of the camp. She used to follow me around with the dogs too!
Over the months, MiniMoo has become a happy heifer. I can see she has grown (she doesn’t fit between the pole and the gate anymore!), but she is still half the size of her buddies born the same week. I doubt that she will ever be the size of a “normal” cow. It doesn’t matter, she will remain a MiniMoo, maybe the first midget cow ever!