Reuniting a family: The story of Whisker Wood’s cows
Written by Whisker Woods founder Shannon
Little did he know that his actions had just saved his life
“Last year I was contacted by a friend who was desperately trying to save a bovine boy that was due to be sent to slaughter with all his friends. Standing in a paddock he’d left all his buddies to walk over to her and a friendship was made, little did he know that his actions had just saved his life.
I didn’t have long to make a decision as the truck was due to pick him up in a few days. I thought about it and said yes. I don’t have a lot of paddock space left due to the amount of horses, sheep, alpacas and kangaroos who call this place home, but I knew I could help save and welcome a bovine.
Not long after Fehu arrived, after getting off the truck he did a few side ways kicks and took off across the paddock. I was told by many people that he’d settle reasonably quickly as he had plenty of company here but Fehu had other plans… after a few days he’d jumped 4 fences and made his way down towards the highway because there is a herd of bovines across the road. Turns out that I could have all the animals in the world but he was going to wander unless I had other bovines here.
Fehu is like a teenager in bovine years so I wondered if his mother was still on the dairy farm? Did she go on the truck with all his friends? Would he remember her? ……..imagine reuniting a little family and offering them happily ever after!
I spoke to my friend about it and we set out to try and track down his mother. Phone calls and record searching later and we found her. She was in Tamworth and the farmer was willing to let us reunite them, he said that she’d since had a little calf a girl. I couldn’t separate them so I arranged to take her and her calf.
The day of delivery I was told that they were loaded and ready to go but that there had been a mix up and her calf was a little steer. I got a bit suss about it and asked questioned, but was assured that the steer was hers.
Soon after Freya and a skinny shy little calf arrived. Fehu was instantly smitten and I could see the bond that he had with Freya, they hadn’t forgotten each other. Although Fehu was almost as big as her he was still very much her little boy. Freya was very wary of me, as a dairy cow all she had ever known of humans is them taking away her babies year after year and taking her milk…..she understandably, wanted nothing to do with me.
I called the skinny shy calf Moonard. Moonard, however, seemed to bond more with me than anyone. If I had a water bottle he’d nuzzle me and try to drink from it, he used my thighs as a scratching post for his little growing horns. I thought I’d give them some time to settle in and before long I had a happy little family of 3.
As the weeks went by I kept wondering if Freya really did have a little girl calf out there. I know my animals well, Moonard was happy and comfortable around Freya but I didn’t think that she was his mum. I suspected that the farmer had wanted to keep the girl as she had value to him, unlike the little boy.
My thoughts eventually got the better of me and we tracked down the farmer to talk about it. Turns out that there was a “mix up” and Freya’s calf was a girl and still on the farm, She was due next year to start her life of being artificially inseminated and having her calves taken from her, birth after birth.
By now the farmer had met me and seen my sanctuary and although he thought it was odd that I dedicated so much of my life to these animals for zero profit – in a way he understood (kind of).
So at this stage I’d gone from 1 bovine to 3 and now possibly 4. Did I have enough land for 4 bovines? Enough water? Enough time? Enough feed money? I’d need to build another shelter! Organise and buy a large water tank! Save for a cattle crush or build a yard for regular treatments that they’d all need……it was a lot of things to think about and on top of that I had over 100 other rescued animals to think about too as my time is stretched as it is.
I couldn’t stop thinking about her - my decision would either mean that this little girl would have a wonderful free life with me or a life of misery stuck on a farm having her calves taken away from her, again and again until her body could no longer do it.
I gave it a lot of thought and I only had one answer – I adopted her too and the next day she made her journey to us, her forever family. “