Kalindi’s Dairy Diary
September 14, 2014
I remember feeling squeezed and then my nose felt a new sensation, something that I soon learned was cold. My tongue was hanging out of my mouth and took the brunt of the cold breeze. More squeezing, and suddenly I was in a new environment and it was so cold. I was shivering, but I felt a raspy tongue and when I figured out how to lift my head, there was Mom. She was licking me and making quiet loving noises as she worked at drying me and warming me up. Somehow I knew that I had to figure out how to work my legs to stand and find food. Mom kept working on cleaning me as I struggled to find my balance, but after several attempts, I was up and began nudging all around her to find the food. The food was lower than I initially thought, but once I latched on, I had a desire to suck and suck until my belly was full. By that time, I had dried off and it wasn’t so cold any more, so I crumbled down to the ground and the last thing I remember was the song of the frogs and crickets as I fell asleep.
When I woke up, I could feel the warmth of the sun on my fur and looked around for Mom. There she was, grazing on the lush grass. Other cows were nearby, too, grazing, but all of them were facing my direction and I felt curiosity coming from them about my sudden appearance. I stood up, much more easily, this time and went right for the food. Mom groaned and strained as I sucked, as if she were in pain, but she licked me as I stood against her body. I filled my belly and then tried out my legs to see if I could run. I could! I could even buck! The other cows crowded around me and some of them even touched me with their noses. Then I was tired again and crumbled down to the soft ground,
The next thing I remember is hearing a creaking sound and as I raised my head all of the cows, including Mom turned in the direction of the sound. A strange creature was coming through a gate. It walked on it’s hind legs, it only had fur on the top of its head and had really strange hide—almost like the hide wasn’t attached to its torso and legs. It came towards me and Mom. Mom and the other cows were not exactly afraid of this strange creature, but they all faced it warily as it approached me. I didn’t even have time to think to get up, when this strange creature grabbed a hind leg and rolled me on my back. Then it walked away, all the while on its hind legs.
After the strange creature went away, I sensed an alarming nervousness from Mom as she urged me to stand. I got up and she let me nurse a little then she moved towards a corner of the pasture—as far away from the gate as possible. Very soon I heard a low pitched sound coming from the direction of the gate. Again, the cows all faced the tractor coming into the pasture. Mom put her body between me and the tractor, so I couldn’t see what happened next. There was a lot of confusion, but the end result was that I was thrown into a pile of straw in a trailer behind the tractor. Mom was screaming for me as I was jolted around on the straw. I couldn’t get up because of the bumpy motion, but I cried for Mom to come and rescue me.
I was still crying when the creature picked me up and put me in a small enclosure filled with other babies. I didn’t care about these other babies—all I could think about was how get back to Mom. I could hear her crying and sensed her despair in the distance. I ran to the fence that was closest to where I could hear her and I cried back to let her know where I was. I cried and cried and cried. Mom kept calling for me, but I couldn’t go to her because the fence was in the way.
After a long time of crying for Mom, I began to notice my surroundings. There were about ten calves in the pen with me. They all looked funny because they all had large yellow tags hanging from their ears, just like Mom, but the tags looked too big on them. All the calves were bigger than me, but seemed friendly enough, except for one large mostly white one who butted me with her head. I cried for Mom to come and rescue me.
After a really long time, the tractor returned, this time with Mom inside a trailer. Mom was here! She came out of the trailer and came running towards me crying frantically. She almost reached me when she discovered that there was a fence keeping her about a cow’s body length away from the pen where I was. I stuck my head through the rails of the fence to try to reach her, but I was just too far away to be able to touch her. By that time I was beginning to really want to nurse, not just because I was hungry, but also because I needed to feel Mom protecting me. I cried and struggled to reach Mom. Then I was so tired that I crumbled down into the straw and slept.
I was startled awake by some alarming sounds—creaky sounds of gates opening, hissy sounds of hoses spraying water and low peculiar sounds coming from those hind-leg creatures. Pretty soon Mom’s pen started filling up with many bossy cows. A very bossy, white cow pushed Mom away from the fence where she was standing close to me and that bossy cow called to the other calves in the pen. The big white calf that had butted me reached for the bossy cow and I figured that Bossy was her mom. My Mom kept crying for me and I cried for her, but we couldn’t get so close because of all of the cows in the way.
Then one of those hind-legs got behind Mom and tapped her butt with a stick. Mom moved away from it and then I couldn’t see her for a long time. Once in a while I could hear her calling for me, but it seemed like she was far away. I sensed that she was in a routine that was familiar to her. Then she was back and able to stand near me because most of the other cows went away with just a few remaining who were laying on sawdust, methodically chewing and relaxing. I started to feel very hungry and really, really wanted to be able to get to Mom to nurse.
Suddenly the other calves in the pen with me got excited and crowded around the gate. There was a hind-leg approaching carrying two buckets. It came in the gate and emptied the buckets into a contraption in the middle of the pen. The contraption had nipples coming out from all sides and each of the calves latched onto a nipple and began sucking while their tails wagged contentedly. I wanted Mom. I was hungry. The hind-leg came back with a bottle, pushed me in a corner and straddled me with it’s legs. Then it pushed the nipple on the end of the bottle in my mouth. I struggled to get away: this thing took me from Mom! I’d fight him with everything I had! I twisted my head to get that thing out of my mouth, but wherever I moved it was still in my mouth. I started to feel milk in my mouth and involuntarily swallowed. Then I just started sucking because I was so hungry. Pretty soon the bottle I was sucking from started to make airy sounds and even though I was sucking, there was no more milk. The hind-leg let me go and walked away, out the gate. I was tired and my tummy was full. I crumbled into the straw to sleep.
It was still dark outside, but there were dim lights above me when it started to be noisy in the barn. Cows started coming in with Mom leading the way. She stood near me, mooing until Bossy pushed her away. Clanging, hissing and hind-leg sounds were coming from all sides. One of the hind-legs walked near me and I ran as far from it as I could. It got behind Mom, tapping her as she moved out of sight. After some time she was back, and the cows gradually filed past our pen and then were gone. Again a hind-leg approached our pen carrying buckets. After it emptied them in the contraption with nipples it came towards me and forced me to put my mouth on one of the nipples. I was really hungry so I started sucking right away and the hind-leg left me alone.
I must have been sleeping and when I woke up, it was light and bright. Mom was gone, but two hind-legs came in the pen with a bucket. One of them grabbed me and the other grabbed my ear and OUCH! Then the other ear and OUCH! And again OUCHHHHH! I cried for Mom and felt a pinch on my neck. The hind-legs let me go and walked away. I shook my head and could see yellow tags hanging from my beautiful black ears. I tried and tried to shake the tags off, but they just stayed there. My ears ached, I cried. Then I went back to sleep.
Every day is pretty much the same: the hind-legs come in before it is light out and make a lot of noise. The cows file past our pen and I see Mom, but can’t get to her. I get to suck milk from the contraption and there are other things to eat that I’m starting to enjoy. There is dry grassy stuff and there are chewy grains. The other calves like to play. They buck and butt heads, but usually in a friendly way. The big white I call Minibossy is actually OK. Sometimes she comes over to me and licks me. I lick her, too. There isn’t very much space in our pen, but it is soft, dry and I have friends.
Later in the day when it is still light out, the hind-legs fill the contraption and I get more milk.
Today after early milk, the hind-legs came and took Minibossy and two other of my friends away! They just opened the pen and then scared the three calves into a small trailer. My three friends looked scared and called to us, but they were taken away and we couldn’t see them. But we heard them crying for us for a while and then they stopped calling. Some of the other calves with me in the pen also called out, but after a while, we weren’t answered.
From one end of our pen, way at a distance, I thought I could see Minibossy in a big green area with some other big calves. I think it was her because she is so white, but I couldn’t be sure.