• Last modified 625 days ago (May 9, 2019)


Lucky calf returned to mother safe and sound

Staff writer

When Judy Stika of rural Lincolnville looked out her kitchen window one morning, she saw a newborn calf lying in the corner of a corral south of her house.

She kept her eye on it all day. The cow, named Whitey, moved between the calf and a bale feeder all day, but the baby never moved.

Stika was becoming concerned because the calf hadn’t nursed all day.

“I’ve been an animal lover all my life and spent a lot of time around cows,” she said. “I gathered cows and milked them by hand in high school. When a cow is close to calving, you keep an eye on her and you care about the calf.”

She shared her concern with her son, Kacey, when he came to feed the cows that evening. He went to check the calf. Startled, it jumped up, ran through a barbed wire fence and headed across an open field that is bordered by a shelter belt about a quarter-mile south.

Kacey returned to his home, a few miles away, and brought back a four-wheeler to look for the calf, but he couldn’t find it.

“I figured it was gone,” Stika said. “Whitey was bawling, and I couldn’t sleep all night.”

Kacey wasn’t ready to give up on it. He returned the next morning and turned Whitey out of the pen, hoping she would go and find her calf. However, she just wandered around the corral all day.

Later that afternoon, Kacey brought a cattle trailer to Stika’s house, thinking he could load Whitey and haul her down to the shelter belt, but Stika discouraged him from trying that idea.

Instead, he took his four-wheeler, his dog, Piper. and his mother’s dog, Coco, and they headed down to the trees.

The dogs sniffed out the calf as it lay in tall grass. It jumped up and ran under a nearby evergreen. Kacey leapt off the four-wheeler, grabbed the calf’s leg, and held onto it. He managed to lift the calf onto the ATV and take it back to its mother.

“That cow saw her calf, and they connected right on the spot,” Stika said. “They have been tight ever since.”

Kacey guided the pair through a gate and back into the corral.

Stika named the calf Lucky.

“It was a happy ending,” Stika said. “There are a lot of coyotes around here, and they could have had steak that night. I’m glad they didn’t get steak.”

To Stika, finding the calf alive and getting it back to its mother was a miracle.

“Miracles do happen,” she said. “Be patient. It will be what it will be.”

Last modified May 9, 2019