Charlie isn’t your average size cow; he’s huge! He’s a gentle giant now but that’s not the way he was when we found him. It was a cold day on February 8th, 2011 and he was week-old calf found wandering down a country road all alone where he had escaped form a dairy farm. Had he not found a way out, he would have likely had a short life lasting no longer than a couple of months at best. He went from a small calf to a big boy weighing about 2000 lbs now! Although he towers over the other animals on the farm (as well as most people), he’s a sweet soul who loves being brushed and spending time with Chickpea, our other cow who is about half his size!
Posts Tagged ‘Charlie’
Charlie the Steer enjoying a strawberry at Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary.
Charlie was found running on an extremely cold day just over 2 years ago. He is one of the lucky few that has the pleasure of tasting treats like strawberries. This is what happens to veal calves not so lucky. Go Vegan
Where do bull calves go after they leave the farm?
Typically, bull calves leaving a dairy farm go to a livestock auction market, where a cattle dealer
purchases them, and subsequently sells them to a specialized veal producer who raises those
calves to desired market weights over a number of months. Bull calves can also go into a beef
feedlot program, depending on market conditions. Today, due to changing consumer demand
and fluctuating market prices for bull calves, those bull calves may be purchased for immediate
slaughter. Calves are being slaughtered in Ontario and Quebec as soon as 2 days after leaving
The bull calves may follow a different route along the chain, as some producers sell their
calves directly to a cattle dealer. Regardless, people need to be aware that once the calves leave
the farm, they could be destined for the human food chain much sooner than you expect.
How old are calves when they are slaughtered?
Ontario has 2 categories of veal calves:
1. Light calves (includes Bob veal): market weight less than 176 lbs dressed.
2. Veal calves: market weight at 176 to 396 lbs dressed.
It started out like a “normal” day, Feb. 8/11, got up at 6:00 am to do chores. Siobhan informed me that she had to help with the snack program and would need the van, I jokingly said that I would book a day off work.
The other option was to dig out the Jetta, which was still buried from stormageddon, the previous week.
As I passed the Jetta on the way to the barn, I figured I’d have to take the day off just to dig out the car.
After chores were finished I went inside and called in to work to book the day off. Siobhan went to the kid’s school to help dole out healthy snacks.
Siobhan finishes snack program comes home and plans to go to London, since she has the van.
Siobhan leaves for London, Pete indulges himself with a little sci-fi on Netflix, (Babylon AD). It’s around 1:00 pm, I’m expecting Siobhan back around 4:00 pm, approximately 1 hour later, Siobhan comes through the door, I’m thinking Oh Oh something is wrong, I hear her say “cow”, I’m thinking Chickpea has escaped, I hear “road”, Chickpea has escaped and is on the road, then I hear “in the back of the van”
Siobhan has found a calf wandering on the road and has it in the back of the van. Now I’m thinking, cow pies in the back of van.
We open up the van and there is a beautiful long leggedy reddy-brown and white calf, and no cow pies, or calf pies, in case Al reads this. We get him out of the van and into the barn. He still has his umbilical cord attached, it is dried up but still there. The punch hole in his ear is scabbed and seeping. He is probably one to two weeks old, and weighs maybe 40 kg. He looks like a red and white Holstein. He could grow to be 2000 lbs. He is probably what our vet called a bob calf. He might have escaped while in the process of being put on a truck for a one way trip. He is cold and hungry.
Siobhan is calling him Charlie, for now, maybe his name should be lucky or lotto, what are the odds that this calf’s path and Siobhan’s have crossed on this bitterly cold February day?
Siobhan’s heads out again to get milk replacer, the wind is blowing hard, and there are white outs on the road to St. Mary’s, with the wind chill it’s got to be -25 C. Charlie wouldn’t have lasted long in these conditions.
Siobhan returns with the milk replacer and we get one litre into him quick, he is still hungry and is head butting me, pretty aggressively, so we give him another litre, and a little bit of calf starter.
The next day Charlie is not doing well, he has the scours, and is not looking as strong as the day before.
Siobhan’s on it, she has electrolyte, ringer’s lactate, lined up for me to pick up at Tavistock Vets after work.
I didn’t know yet that I have to make the pickup in Tavistock. I head out after work, I stopped at Zehr’s to pick up some stuff, went to Sport Chek to pick up some snow pants for Patrick, ( which he just loves and wanted to wear to bed that night), and then I went to Feed All for dog food, and cat food. I went into Feed All and asked the lady if she had any Solid Gold dog food, and she said “Are you Peter” I said yes,
“You need to call home” I’m thinking Oh Oh. So I have to make one more stop in Tavistock, actually two, one at the vets and one at the drug store to pick up Pepto-Bismol
So Wednesday night poor old Charlie had the following;
– 30 cc’s of nasty pink Pepto-Bismol
– 500 ml of ringers sub q, administered with a 60 ml needle, that’s at least 8 injections, probably triple that, due to the needle popping out with Charlie moving around.
– 2 litres of electrolyte
– 1 needle of 5 ml Borgal
– 1 needle of 2 ml Cronyxin
– maybe one litre of milk replacer
This was between 6:30 pm and 9:30 pm, Siobhan went back out at 10:30 pm and got another ½ litre of milk replacer into him.
I got up at 5:30 am and Charlie pounded back 2 litres of electrolyte, he was looking better.
We are guardedly optimistic.
It’s one week later, Charlie is doing better. He still has nasty scours , but his appetite seems to be better.
We had the vet, Graham out Monday, and he used a feeding tube on Charlie to get some milk replacer in him.
Charlie and Chickpea, (our black and white female Holstein), have been friendly. Chickpea was scared of Charlie initially. It’s nice to see them together in the straw under the heat lamp. They are quite the odd couple, Charlie is tall and lean, Chickpea is short and round, but friends forever.