Larry the calf was born just a few hours ago on a beautiful farm in Millbrook, Ontario. He came into the world an hour or so after sunrise and was met by blue skies and warm sunshine. His mother, Pam had picked a nice spot in the grass, away from the rest of the herd and she lay down to give birth in the same way that mother cows have been giving birth for thousands of years. The cows here have large meadows full of lush, green grass. There are ponds with fresh water, and the meadow borders on a forested area with mature trees. It's life as close as possible to what nature intended for these gentle creatures.
Larry took a few minutes to figure out his new surroundings and get his strength up and then he got to his feet. Pam licked him lovingly and cleaned him up. This also stimulates the calf to walk and begin to nurses. Larry wobbled around and then found his way to Pam's back end and her udders. With a little work, he latched on and got his breakfast. The first milk is the most important. It is colostrum, which is high protein and full of the perfect nourishment for a newborn calf. It also has a high concentration of white blood cells which will aid in the calf's development of its immune system. Without this first milk, the baby would be more prone to infection as it grows.
Larry began to explore this beautiful new world and he quickly gained his balance and his leg strength. By the end of his first afternoon, he was walking and even trying to run and bounce on his new legs. As he played and explored, he found a small pine bough that had fallen to the ground. This made a very interesting toy for little Larry and he brushed his head against the pine needles, nibbling and sniffing them. He bounced and head butted the branch as if trying to invite it to play. The encounter was similar to the famous meeting between Bambi and a flower in the Disney classic.
Larry will be very happy in his new home. He will wander with the herd and he will stay with his mother, learning how to graze and look after himself as he gets older. This is a farm where the health of the animals comes before profit. They refuse to produce veal and they don't separate newborn calves from their mothers. The animals have plenty of room and they only go indoors in the harshest winter months.
For those who chose to eat meat, supporting farms like this one can be a great option. They don't cut costs in ways that reduce quality of care for the animals. It may be a little more expensive, but knowing that these wonderful creatures are treated so much better is worth it.