From time to time (actually daily) we make mistakes here at Acabonac Farms. We carefully plan, we work hard, we work smart and still, mistakes happen.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, some important cattle terminology to know:
- Steer - castrated male;
- Heifer - female that has not had a calf;
- Bull - intact male;
- Cow - female that has had a calf.
Our 100% grass fed operation runs with steers and heifers. We do not keep bulls and therefore we do not carry cows and their calfs. Despite having about 300 acres of pasture on eastern Long Island we cannot make the financials work by running a cow / cow calf operation. We instead buy in our weaned calfs from cow / calf producers in the region that have the ideal grass genetics complementary to our ranching practices and Long Island climate (expect more about this in a future note).
Occasionally a calf supplier does a good (but not perfect) job with the castration of a young bull calf. And when this happens, well, you find yourself with one of these….
Yes, our very first calf.
Danny and I are enjoying very much this little goofy addition to our herd. It was born on our Southold property a few short days ago and has been enjoying the lush grass, warm weather and his many adult friends.
It’s been a complete joy having him around.
He is growing like a weed and is very social and playful. Momma Cow is in great shape and very relaxed when it comes to us spending time with him. We’ve built a lot of trust with her over the months and it is paying off.
Our plans: he is part of the team. And that’s that. We will raise him on a grass diet just like the rest of the crew. I figure he will be with us for a good 30 months. We plan to wean him from his mother around 9 months of age, and I expect him to become one of our herd’s finest.
This is an important reminder for us that sometimes plans change and you just have to roll with it. We will learn all that we can from our first little calf… and I suspect that there may be a few more on the way real soon.