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Twenty Lb Calf
"The 20-lb. calf isn't any bigger than two tomcats," says Sheldon, Wis., beef producer Weldon Henricks, about the small crossbred Hereford calf he found in his feedlot one recent morning.
The heifer calf, which weighed only 20 lbs. at birth a few weeks ago, is just as frisky as one of a normal 75 to 100 lb. size, says Henricks.
"When I walked out in the barnyard, I saw a little dark spot and thought the calf was dead because I'd lost one only a few days earlier," Henricks notes.
"But when I reached down, it moved and then hopped and ran toward its mother. I couldn't believe how small it was. Its mother then came out of the feed barn and took charge."
When Henricks finally picked up the calf, he was surprised how little it actually was and how little it weighed. It wasn't any more than 20 pounds and when it stood up, it couldn't even reach its mother's bag."
He contacted Barbara Pennoyer, a neighboring dairy farmer, and she agreed to feed it milk at her farm. "The calf has been running all over her barn," Henricks says. At first Pennoyer fed it with a bottle. When it was first born, Henricks removed a needle from a syringe and used that to feed it so the calf would get some nourishment right away.
A veterinarian, who said he'd never seen a live, healthy beef calf that small, recommended 10 CCs of liquid vitamins every day for 10 days about one third the amount he'd usually prescribe for a normal-sized calf.
"The calf was the second one for its mother. The first one was normal in size. I intend to raise the calf. It ought to be sort of fun to see how it gets along," Henricks notes.

Photo and story reprinted courtesy The Country Today

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1987 - Volume #11, Issue #3