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Photographer's Note

This calf is just seconds old,opening her eyes to the world for the first time.And what is the first thing she sees?....the flash of a camera which she probably finds far less welcoming than the warm tongue of her mother licking off the fresh placenta.Not that there is any danger in a barn, cows do this instinctively to remove any attraction to potential predators.If we did not remove the entire placenta sac from her calving pen,she would eat that too.Also part of her instinctive nature, the mother will nudge the calve continuously,encouraging it to get up as soon as possible.This calve was up within minutes and soon feeding from its mother.
It is hard to imagine the amazing growth of cattle when you compare them to humans.Within two years this calve will have grown to more than half a tonne and hopefully will have given birth to her own calve by then...think about that the next time your two-year-old daughter comes asking for a bedtime story :-)

This is the Holstein breed of dairy cows.Through genetic improvement and "computer dating" sire selection, this breed has evolved considerably over that last century. A top producing Holstein in prime production today can produce upwards of 125 pounds of milk per day.This requires a fine tuned feeding program as the cow must have everything it needs.One more note about this calf; it is one of our embryo transfers that we place into host mothers.We select our best cows and have them super-ovulate and then inseminated with a top bull.The multipule embryos(sometimes up to a dozen) are then frozen and kept in storage until we select a suitable host mother.

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Additional Photos by Derek Hill (quegardens) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 561 W: 267 N: 172] (1469)
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