Calves sometimes start arriving early. This week our oldest cow, #19E, or as she prefers to be called, Apple Hill Mindy, had a calf. This was a complete surprise and we only found out she was pregnant last week! According to Ayrshire Farm Livestock Manager, Crystal Ritenour, #19E had been “retired from calving with her last calf in October of 2011.” She has duties as a “babysitter for our weanlings,” she says, “but she had other plans.”
About 9 months ago, our young bulls got out but were rounded up in less than 24 hours. Apparently it was at just the right time, and, “our very old girl had a calf yesterday,” said Crystal. She went on to say, “They are both doing well. She’s a little rough-looking but all those years of having babies will do that.”
According to our founder, Sandy Lerner, having a calf at the age of 19 is “like a 110 year old woman having a baby!” She also reports, “dairy cows have an average of 1.5 calves before they are slaughtered, usually because their legs give out from the huge amount of milk (10 times more than needed for their calf), and the average beef cow lives to 9 or 10 years old, and has an average of 7 or 8 calves.” Apple Hill Mindy has had 17!
Crystal says, “I believe this will be her last calf unless she decides otherwise. It is just a testament to what the heritage breeds can accomplish sometimes.” Number 19E lost one of her horns about a year ago and she might be a little rough-looking, but we think she’s quite beautiful. And so is her new calf!
Contributors: Sandy Lerner and Crystal Ritenour, who also sent the pictures taken by Valerie Mahala.