Celebrating rescued farm animal mothers
Lucille sat on her egg for 21 days hardly eating or drinking. When her egg hatched to her sweet fluffy chick Charlie, Lucille spent 24 hours a day for four months with her new daughter. This dedicated Mum lost weight, lost the deep red in her comb & the beautiful rich glean from her auburn feathers, all to ensure her baby was safe & well. Today, both ladies are healthy, happy & well at FAR
Sweety was rescued from a beef ranch as she was unable to fit on the slaughter truck. Females bred for the food industry are kept continuously pregnant, so it was no surprise when she gave birth to a lovely little girl named Sally. Cows keep a very socially supportive society & Sweety, always the social butterfly, had plenty of post-natal support as the other adult cattle took turns baby-sitting so Sweety could eat pasture and rest. The joint responsibility shared by the herd for the calves confirms that when calves are taken it’s not just the mother that’s affected but the entire herd mourns.
Lily lamb arrived at FAR unable to stand, lift her head, eat or drink following a horrid case of worms. Over two weeks she slowly recovered & enjoyed sitting in the living room eating & playing - but there was a quiet sadness about her & we could not get her to walk. We found out shortly after that Lily’s mother, Eve, could come to sanctuary so when she arrived we brought Lily to her. After weeks apart, Eve immediately went to her baby. Eve then went to graze & left Lily’s side. Thinking she’d abandoned Lily, we left them for 30 minutes to give them an opportunity to re-acquaint just in case. When we came back Lily was up and grazing with her mother. What we hadn’t managed in a week, her mother managed in just half an hour.
After eight years being milked on a dairy farm & having seven calves torn away from her shortly after birth, Anne-Marie came to FAR in a very poor state & heavily pregnant. She gave birth to little baby Melissa & although suffering terribly from mastitis in three-quarters of her udder, she covered her frail little calf with affection. Anne-Marie separated from the herd with Melissa to rest under a tree, where Melissa died at three days old. Anne-Marie sat with her baby for hours & then got herself up & walked further away from the herd before sitting down again, on her own. She sat there and wouldn’t get up for two weeks. If we hadn’t have brought her food & water she would have just sat there and died of a broken heart. Today, Anne-Marie is as sensitive as ever & spends her time with Sersha, her other baby that was rescued from the dairy farm with her. It is so comforting that one of her children survived to see her through to old age.
Precious was unable to fit onto the slaughterhouse truck & at 15 years, she arrived at FAR heavily pregnant. She gave birth just before New Year, 2014 to baby Sam. When Sam was two years old he was diagnosed with “Lumpy Jaw”, a horrible disease that causes the jawbone to retard and makes
eating almost impossible. We managed to keep Sam going for a year by supplementing different feeds but on his third birthday, a huge steer weighing
500kgs, it was clear that his distress was too great. In his last months he would wander away to sit on his own & every time Precious would go to comfort him & bring him back to the herd. As it was time we called in the vet and decided to euthanise him with Precious there. She watched as Sam was sedated &quietly went to sleep. Sam passed & Precious sat with him, giving him little licks, long before going to join the others in the herd. We then had to move Sam so he could be taken away. After re-locating the carcass, we turned to discover Precious marching up the hill with the entire herd behind her. They then sat with Sam’s peaceful body overnight before he was taken away the next morning. Beef cattle are routinely slaughtered at eighteen months of age, much younger than Sam who was taken from his mother and friends way too early.
Coco is a cow who lived in adjacent paddock to FAR. She was in a very small herd of just her and a bull. After giving birth to baby George, Coco cared for him in her paddock for a few months. But then we discovered one morning that Coco had shredded the fence between the two paddocks so she and her baby could get into the sanctuary’s paddocks. She marched George down to the herd, left her baby in the middle of them, & took off on her own for a day. Like so many mothers, Coco just needed a break. Looking after her baby 24/7 had become too much for a naturally social mother.