Spirit the Calf

Greetings beautiful people!  Here is the story of Spirit - a beautiful little week old calf rescued from a local dairy.  I was blessed to be a part of this bittersweet rescue.

You can help Spirit and all of the animals at Sugarshine Farm by donating or volunteering.

Spirit's fate was to be killed for meat/beef.  He is a boy, born to a mum who is a cow used for milk and the dairy industry.  My dear friend Lisa had recently rescued 2 calves - one female and one male (another story) and taken them to Sugarshine Farm - a sanctuary near Lismore, Northern NSW, Australia.  Spirit was the third calf she had rescued in a few weeks and asked me to come and help her load Spirit in to her horse trailer and drive him to the sanctuary and help him settle in.

I had never handled a calf before - usually a Mumma cow keeps her calf close and protects it.
We arrived to the dairy and there was little Spirit - just a week old and separated from his mumma.  Lying on cold concrete floor - looking sad and despondent.

Spirit the calf - lonely and sad

We chatted to him and soothed him and when we went to guide him on to the trailer he was so scared - his little heart was beating so fast.  We patted him for as long as the farmer seemed to allow and then guided him on to the trailer.  Even though he was being "rescued" he was being traumatised - separated from his Mum, his herd and now being transported.  

This dear little calf stayed calm in the horse trailer and was scared and hesitant to get out of the trailer.  He was greeted by the amazing crew at Sugarshine Farm and put in a barn with fresh hay and bottle fed.  There is a another calf the same age who Spirit will grow up with and be rehomed with when they are both older.  Cows have friends and family and it is important that he has another friend to travel through life and these transitions with.

Spirit is safe and sound at Sugarshine Farm and needs intensive feeding and care until he can be re-homed safely.  When cows are allowed to, they suckle their calves for around 10 months and then the mum and calf wean them off the milk gently over 2 weeks.

Spirit needs to be bottle fed regularly and also neutered so he will not contribute to breeding more cows that we can not guarantee safe homes for.

Interesting Facts About Cows
  • Cows have been known to walk for miles to find their calves.
  • Cows like to sleep close to their families 
  • Sleeping arrangements are determined by their position in the social hierarchy.
  • There are approximately 920 different breeds of cows in the world.
  • Cows where thought to have been domesticated approximately 5000 years ago.
  • Cows have incredible senses: they have near panoramic vision, can detect odours up to five miles away and they can hear low and high frequency sounds better than humans.

read more about cows here: The emotional lives of dairy cows 

There are a few dairies nestled in the hinterland in beautiful Byron Bay, on green, luscious rolling hills.  At a glance you would feel these cows would be happy - and i am grateful for the experience to see inside these operations and share the story of Spirit.

Every year, Spirit's mum has her babies taken from her, so the farmer can sell the milk meant for her baby, to shops for humans to purchase and drink.  This cycle continues until the Mumma is no longer productive - and then she is killed - to be eaten.

This is such a sad cycle and it was a joy to be part of Spirit's life even briefly - i am more in love with these beautiful, gentle animals than ever before.  If you have never got to know a cow - i wish for you this blessing.  with love, lulu xx


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