Mar 3 2012
This is a cool story of a very special cow.
Charlotte is half Fresian and half Belted Galloway.
A few years ago I decided to hand raise 50 calves, and chose Belted Galloway cross because the babies look like little pandas, and would be easy to sell to livestylers. I bought them from a dairy farm near Hawera.
Charlotte was one of those babies, and from a very early age she showed remarkable intelligence, and a real affinity for people. She used to seek me out and play bunting games with me – continuously bunting me in the back of my legs and chasing me around the paddocks. I used to have so much fun with her.
Once they were weaned on grass, they were break feed, and shifted every day. Charlotte knew immediately that they key to getting feed first was to stick with me – and not to worry about the rest of the herd. She was such a character – she would run beside me on my bike. One day I was naughty and kept speeding up. Charlotte just increased her stride, and at one point was keeping up with me at 30 kilometres per hour. She was such a character.
We sold all the Belted Galloway calves but found reasons why Charlotte could not go. She remained with a herd of bigger cows. She was so good – she would lead the cows to the next break or paddock, so was so good to have – as a lead cow (despite her young age).
She got herself pregnant (“Charlotte the Harlot”) to a Highland bull calf (I didn’t think it was possible) and the resulting calf was a grey calf with a perfect white band around his stomach.
As we started our Piedmontese cattle and ET projects, we used a lot of our cows as surrogate mothers. There were lots of calving issues, and I decided there was no way Charlotte would be a surrogate for Piedmontese embryos (and so happy with the decision – I don’t ET Piedmontese cattle at all now, becuase of the calving issues). She was also not part of our beef project either. I made the decision to sell Charlotte and her calf. We sold her to a couple in Te Poi, who loved her dearly, and spoilt her.
Although she was in good hands, I always regretted selling her, especially as I moved my ET project to easy calving Angus cattle. I could have used her as a surrogate mother for pure Angus babies.
The husband of her new owners started to have some health issues – with a string of hear attacks. He was hositalised for a quite a time, and they decided to “loan” her to the dairy farmer next door to them, and he milked her, and tried to get her back in calf. Apparently she hated it – and would not get in calf either. The dairy farmer strongly suggested that Charlottle should be sent to the works.
The owners rang me for some advice, and I suggested that Charlotte come back here, and I would see if I could get her in calf again. We were due to flush one of our Angus cows, and I hoped she might accept an embryo implant. We duly implanted an embryo into her (its totally non invasive – pretty much the same as AIing the cow). The ET technician said that her uterus felt very “floppy” and did not think she would hold, and suggested to me to not try to implant her again – and to run her with a bull and hope for the best.
Charlotte actually held the implant, so now has a high quality Angus baby growing inside her (with fabulous genetics – Charlotte will raise a very top animal). I could not be more happy.
The owners come and visit her (and spoil her), and every day when I shift the stock she is right beside me. We walk together with my arm over her neck. I am so happy she is back.
Between the owners and me, we have not decided her long term fate. She will probably live the rest of her life here. I hope so. I just love her to bits!