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Saving Rejected Calves
When a cow loses a calf, you can take advantage of the situation by skinning the dead calf and putting the hide on an orphan that might not otherwise be accepted by the calfless mother.
That's what Heather Thomas of Salmon, Idaho, did recently. "Once a cow smells its own calf it locks that smell into her brain. From then on she can pick her calf out of a herd," she says.
"The dead calf should be skinned very soon after it dies. The legs should be skinned so that the live calf's legs go through the leg holes of the dead skin. This holds the `jacket' securely in place. The tail of the dead calf should be left attached to the skin. The cow is going to smell that calf's hind end and it better smell right. After a few smells of the jacket-bearing newcomer, most cows are convinced. Once the calf has nursed a few times, and the pair are well-bonded, the dead skin can be removed. The cow will mother and protect that baby as diligently as if it were the one she gave birth to."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Heather Thomas, Box 215, Salmon, Idaho 83467 (ph 208 756-2841).

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #6