calf graft

When I first met Tucker back in 2005.. he took me to Harrison during the height of calving season.  I remember going into a barn and seeing the skin of a calf hanging on a post, staring at it and then side-eyeing Tucker wondering if he was some sort of weird animal killer. I am kidding.  I knew he wasnt, but I was aghast at the sight of a calf skin hanging there. I asked, “Why would you skin a calf?” and Tucker in his serious, nimble manner replied, “To graft it.”

I pretended to know what  he was talking about, “Oh right…..to graft it. Duh.”

After Tucker was finished with whatever he was doing, he showed me what grafting was.  Sometimes calves dont make it for whatever reason.  They are still born, they get sick, they freeze, they get stepped on, mom is mean and won’t feed it, a wolf-kill whatever the reason.. ranchers can skin the calf and set it aside.  Sometimes twins are born and instead of having that mom feed two calves or favor one and have the other be sickly; you take the one twin calf and graft the skin that you set aside on him and the mom that lost her calf is tricked into thinking that her baby is alive .  Cows find their calves by scent so they will ‘almost always’ mother that calf.   

You can kind of see the graft in this picture.  I wanted the calf to get up so I could really get a good picture but I saw how precious he was in slumber and couldn’t possibly disrupt it.

There you have it Calf graft 101.

-Nikki

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