The Curious Case of the Missing Calf

James and I have eagerly been awaiting the arrival of our last two calves of the year. Saturday saw the first of these; a gorgeous blonde heifer calf born to Hamish of Arrandoon and Bria of Blue Rock. Jessica is still to calve and should do so soon!


As is typical of me the Land Rover had been tidied earlier in the week and I had forgotten to put in the NLIS ear tags. This was very frustrating as Bria was very calm and allowed me to walk right up to the calf and check her over. I was happy to discover she was a blonde heifer calf and looks to be of stud quality as she does not possess the White stripe on her belly that many of our calves this year have displayed.

I had intended to come out on Sunday but due to a late night and hangover I felt it best to avoid driving anywhere that day. Monday morning I was a lot fresher and rearing to go, however on arrival at the farm the calf was nowhere to be seen. This is not unusual though as the highlands hide their calves for a few days. James and I can usually seek them out and if they have gone under a fence we can move them back to the right paddock.

To make matters more interesting, Bria had one udder that was three times the size of the others and had a purple hue, leading me to think she had mastitis. The vet gave her a check but we found that in fact the milk was perfect and there was nothing to be alarmed at. To avoid this being a wasted trip the vet gave her an internal check which also came back all well and clear of infection. I also inquired about the two extra teats that Bria had on the back of her udder and was informed that these are remnant teats and serve no purpose. I asked if they produced milk and the vet said no it’s highly unlikely – but when she went to check we discovered that Bria has 6 working teats!

Now all the time I had spent rounding the cattle up and dealing with this in the morning, I had not seen or heard her calf anywhere. This I felt was unusual so I continued to search the paddock and adjacent paddocks with no luck.

I left the farm and came back in the morning to see if she had appeared. Again she was nowhere to be seen and Bria looked to be searching for her. She had a full bag and it didn’t look like she had been milked out. At this stage I began to presume the calf had not made it and perhaps a fox had taken her. With a date in Melbourne that evening there was nothing more I could do.

This morning I took my Brother-in-law out to see the farm and stock and was both surprised and overjoyed to see that the calf had reappeared and was happily trotting alongside Bria. Both look to be doing very well but were not in the mood for photos today!

I still have no idea where she was hidden as I was sure I searched every inch of the farm, but I am thrilled she has returned.

– Rachael


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