Attila the Hun…

No, wait, the name on the tag was that of her mother and ‘H’ was just for heifer. However, by the time I had those details from her original owner, Tilly had made her mark as being a wee hun (as in honey, pet name and no relation to geography) and wasn’t named after Attila. Oh well, she’ll remain Tilly.

The past few weeks have been challenging. After iCalf 2 went against all odds and survived ehid bought of e.coli and meningitis, it was soon apparent not all was well with the wee dude. There were signs of several severe problems and every milk feed was back to him having to learn how to suck. Upon seeking advise from the vet regarding his prognosis, the decision was made to use euthanasia. However, his mother, very motherly and very good at supplying her offspring with lots of milk, meant unless she had a calf I’d be in for problems. Cue Tilly. Tilly has lost her mother 4 days before we got her so had been learning how to steal milk from other cows, however, that’s not always going to supply a full stomach so when I put out a advert for an orphan calf, she was offered.

Dryope wasn’t the keenest to allow Tilly to feed, so Dryope was, and still is, fed through a locking barrier and we initially had to intervene to stop Dryope kicking her off. She had had the skin of iCalf put on her to help trick the mother into thinking this was her calf. Dryope wasn’t that thick. After three days, the smell from the skin was rank so binned. Think all parties involved were relieved when it went!

Tilly has always been smart. As soon as we would turn up she was up, getting herself ready so all she had to do was take a step in and start feeding (keeping herself out of kicking range until we had lifted Dryope’s tail). There has been slow improvements over the days. Dryope doesn’t kick her off but also won’t let her feed unless we feed her in the locking barrier.

Today was a fairly major breakthrough – I caught Dryope licking Tilly for the first time. Hopefully it will not be long before their three times a day, milking/feeding partnership ends and their mother/daughter bonding is enough to avoid needing us.

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