Poddy Calves at Kilcowera

October 3, 2012

Angela with Spiderwoman

Angela with Spiderwoman

An inevitable fact of life on a station is the almost certain appearance of the Poddy Calf ( or poddy lamb!). We seem to get one or two a year.   It was all lots of fun when the girls were little and at home, to care for them – they loved them dearly.

Katherine, Angela and Wednesday

Katherine, Angela and Wednesday

The poor little things somehow lose their mother.  Occasionally she’ll die out in the paddock, sometimes during a muster the cow might leave the calf planted in the scrub and when she is taken back to the paddock she may have forgotten about the calf.  Or Mum might have gone on the truck and the calf wanders into the trough days later looking for her and finds us instead.  If it’s obvious that the calf hasn’t got a mother we’ll nab it, take it home and feed it.

And then there’s mismothering.  Sometimes it’s our fault, sometimes it’s the cows fault.  Most cows are great mothers but you do sometimes get some bad mothers or just a plain loopy cow.

If we are branding the calves they are put into a separate, small yard away from the cows , then branded and let straight back out to the cow who usually claims the calf, as quick as lightning.  Some of them are just about breathing down our neck as we’re putting their eartags in and the brand on their rumps!  After that it’s back out to the paddock where we hold them all together near a watering point, giving the calves and cows ample opportunity to mother up again.

But sometimes it just so happens that one or two don’t mother up and voila, we have a poddy.  They live in the chook yard while they are getting the special milk which we feed them via the big green cow and also calf pellets.  During the drought we also put the poddies in the shearers quarters yard as there was always plenty of grass for them there.

Poddies in the Shearers Quarters yard.

Poddies in the Shearers Quarters yard.

One year a neighbour gave us 8 poddies cause he couldn’t be bothered raising them.  That was about 6 years ago and since then the heifers have produced a calf each year and the steers were sold at about two years.  There was Delilah and Cinderella, so called cause they were so unfortunately ugly, Spindles had legs on her like match sticks, Rhonda named after his sister, Devondale cause it was white,  Kerry O’Brian who was white with a red patch on his cruet and Samson & Butterscotch.  We also went through a time when they were named Tuesday, Wednesday etc.

Eating their pellets.

Eating their pellets.

Years later if they are in the mob of cattle that we have yarded up they will still coming running up to us if we shake a bucket of pellets around.

And this is the current one – Sandra.

Sandra and the big green cow.

Sandra and the big green cow.

4 Responses to “Poddy Calves at Kilcowera”

  1. Jess said

    Don’t you feel sad or guilty when you send these animals off to their death? especially after you’ve hand raised some like pets and even given them names? I can see the animals are treated very well on your station, but what happens at the other end after they ‘get on the truck’ is what led me to stop eating animals. I mean, we would not ship the family dog off to a slaughterhouse after a few years so I realised oneday that cows and sheep etc are no different…. not being argumentative, just interested in your feelings on the matter when it comes to putting your animals on those trucks.

    • zenonie said

      Hi Jess, well I must say I do feel a tinge of sadness for all the bovines when they leave Kilcowera, however they have had a good life and their only reason for existence is to end up as food for people. So we breed the best we can and look after them well. This is a fact of life – if people did not want to eat meat, I doubt if I would be here at Kilcowera and the cows certainly wouldn’t be. I consider myself and all the other pple in the civilised world to be extremely lucky to have good quality protein to eat and thrive on. I’m also happy that I don’t have to eat dog or cats, or grasshoppers or cockroaches or grubs as some pple do to survive.

      How about you get hold of a copy of the Secret Life of Plants written by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird for an alternative look at plants, vegetables and fruits?

      Thanks for your comments, I won’t answer you again as we probably come from totally different sides on this subject and to continue a dialogue would be counter productive. All the best, Toni.

  2. Clarissa said

    Hello Toni, first of all: thank you for writing this blog, I always enjoy reading it. This special post today made me think back of my travels through Australia back in 2004. I worked on an Outback sheep and cattle station in SWQLD back then and was (amongst other things) responsible for feeding eleven calves every day. I used one of your pictures for a post on my own blog (http://raupenblau.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/anderswo-kilcowera-station/) in which I typed down some of my memories. I linked back to your blog, of course, and hope you are ok with this! If not, please let me know! Btw, Spiderwoman is just the best name for a little calf 🙂 How did you come up with it? Best to you from Germany! Clarissa

    • zenonie said

      Thanks Clarissa for your kind words and please keep reading! poor little spiderwoman was a newborn in the yard and she just had the longest legs and used to totter about, she wasn’t very strong as she never got the first drink from her mum which is very important. She got some sort of infection and we had to put her down. She was a beautiful little calf.

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