It’s calving time! Baby calves everywhere. It’s one of the most rewarding times on the ranch, but it is also an increase in our work load. We check heifers several times throughout the day and for the most part all is well with the heifers and the baby calves. Yesterday was an exception to that.
My husband was riding through the heifers and came across a heifer with a brand-new calf, but the calf wasn’t standing up yet. A calf that’s standing up and moving around will warm himself up and quickly start looking for milk. So, when my husband saw that this brand-new calf wasn’t standing, he got off his horse with the intention of lifting up the calf and standing it on it’s feet. What he found however, was that a coyote had found the calf first. Typically when a coyote finds a newborn calf, they kill the calf. Surprisingly this calf only had wounds on it’s leg. Big, gaping, nasty wounds, but they didn’t look fatal.
My husband came back to the house at a high trot. He came into the house and went straight to the phone to call the vet. Walking to the phone, he asked if the kids’ homework was done and could I please help him? After checking with the vet to see if he would wait after hours to help this calf, my husband jumped in the gator, I climbed on the horse and we set out to save this calf.
We were concerned that time was working against us. The calf was bleeding and we weren’t sure if the calf had gotten up to nurse from her mother before the coyote struck. We needed to get the calf to the vet and then back to her mama as quickly as possible. My husband put the calf in the gator and wasted no time turning around and driving the three miles back to the ranch. After transferring the calf to his pickup, he set out for the vet. I trailed the heifer back to the ranch and got her set up in a corral pen with hay and water.
The vet determined that the coyote hadn’t damaged anything vital on the calf, so he stitched her up and placed a drain tube in the wound. After giving her a shot of antibiotics, he sent the calf and my husband home.
The calf needs a couple more days of antibiotics and we will remove the drain tube in a week, but so far she is doing great! She is walking around, nursing and showing no sign of infection. Success!
Coyotes. I understand how the food chain works and coyotes need to eat, too. I can even understand how some people consider them a beautiful animal and I realize they are a necessary part of our ecosystem. But, when it is a choice between a coyote and one of our animals, we will do all within our power to protect our animals. Every time.