Bull Calf Time

Duke at two days old

It’s bull calf time again. It’s the season of the year when I should be calling the dairies an hour away, looking for a day-old Jersey bull calf. Dairies are generally happy to hear from me, as few people want Jersey bull calves to begin with (too small and bony to raise profitably for meat), and even fewer as we head into winter.

Actually, I’m a month behind. I usually get my calves in late September or early October. I need my calves to nurse as my relief milker through the long winter, graze and grow all summer, and then be ready to breed my cows in the fall before going to slaughter. This system has worked well for me for years.

Unfortunately at the moment I am tired of testosterone. I’m enjoying my testicle-free zone. No bull. No ram. No menace requiring vigilance. Yes, I do have a rooster and a gander, but both of these are mild-mannered reporters. Life in the barn is simple and easy.

Just yesterday I re-hung the gate on its hinges and righted the water trough — and without a bull to bash them, they will stay that way.

Yet if I don’t get a bull calf soon, my cows won’t be bred next fall. I won’t have beef for our freezer or to sell. Sigh. I remember David, my vet, twinkling at me as he packed up his supplies after treating Katika for her breeding injury this fall.

“Males are just a huge pain, aren’t they?”

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