You may remember my favorite cow, Sparky, from “What’s In A Name”. What makes her my favorite? Sparky is the first calf-turned-cow that I had an emotional connection to. She’s the first of many, but Sparky will always be really special to me.
Three years ago, when Sparky was about 4 months old, she got really sick with respiratory problems. We had a cold & wet winter, and a lot of calves had coughs. We treated her just like we did the others, but she continued to cough and grew thinner and weaker.
David caught her to treat her again, this time with a stronger dose, and he asked me to give the shot while he held her still. I gave the shot in her back leg just like he had shown me. She was so thin that there wasn’t much muscle, and I apparently hit a nerve. Sparky immediately stopped bearing weight on that leg, and we had to help her to a good spot to lay down. I cried. David pretended to be optimistic, but we both expected the worst.
The next morning, when David took grain to Sparky’s pen, she walked up to eat bearing weight on all four legs. We were both amazed, and she never looked back. Because of her setback we grouped her with some younger calves to give her an advantage while she recovered, and she thrived. She was ornery (she liked to knock gates open), but she was strong and healthy.
Fast-forward to Fall 2011 when Sparky had her first calf. It was a heifer out of the bull, Trigger (also one of my favorites). We named the calf Firecracker, and she’s doing great. Unfortunately, though, Sparky got a uterus infection and was really sick, and I was really worried. It was like she was 4 months old all over again. But, after treating her infection, she started putting on weight and giving milk, and a few months later she came into heat and was bred again.
This past weekend, Sparky had her second calf – another heifer! This time the calf was sired by the bull Ryker, who happens to be a half-brother to Trigger…hmm…this is starting to feel a little like a soap opera.
Anyway – obviously this calf is really special to me. And she needs a name! I’d like to name her something along the thematic lines of Sparky and Firecracker. Most dairy farmers use the same first letter for names within a family, but we already screwed that up, so give us whatever you’ve got!
Oh, and here she is: