This is "Sparky" who is the newest arrival on this beautiful farm in Millbrook, Ontario, in Canada. Sparky's birth was very unusual, as he was actually born outside the fence that borders the meadow where he will spend his life. But Sparky's mother, Flo, was inside the meadow when this all happened. For some unexplained reason, Flo decided to give birth up against the electric fence near the pond. Her back end must have been in position to push this little fellow out into the grass in the ditch beside the farm. Flo's little baby was healthy enough but he couldn't get to his mother for that crucial drink of "first milk" that contains the antibodies he would need to begin building an immune system. He was also unprotected outside the fence, away from the herd that would keep predators from getting to the newborns. But most of all, this little calf could easily wander onto the busy road beside the ditch and cause a car accident. Coincidentally, a motorist (Dave) was driving past, on his way to his house nearby. He had been watching the cows and the new arrivals and he was an avid animal videographer. He happened to stop because the other cows were enjoying a wade in the pond and he wanted to capture it on video. While Dave was filming, Flo was along the fence to his left and she began to act agitated. Dave left a camera on the fencepost and moved away to give her space. He eventually realized that she was looking in the grass, looking at him, and mooing expectantly. After a few minutes, Dave went to the grass in front of Flo and he found her baby lying very still. Dave saw a small gap under the electric fence and he now understood that the baby had slid out through the wires, or under them. Flo seemed to relax visibly as he began to push the calf back through. Dave has very little understanding of cows, farms, or electric fences and he inadvertently touched the wire several times in the process of returning the calf. Although both of them received a few shocks, the voltage is turned down low on this fence so it wasn't enough to cause a problem. It was due to these shocks that the calf was later named "Sparky". As Flo and Sparky were reunited and they walked away happily, the farmer showed up and asked Dave what had happened. Dave explained the calf and he learned that the farmers had just left on an errand a few hours earlier. Flo had given birth in that time. The farmers invited Dave to come out on the field and record, as well as to assist with tagging Sparky and treating his umbilical cord with antibiotic. Amazingly, Flo and Sparky seemed to recognize Dave and they approached him curiously while he visited. In typical Canadian fashion, the farmers invited Dave over for a beer and a chat. Dave learned a lot about "ethical beef farming" that day, and the difference in treatment of the animals when compared with larger factory farming operations. It became obvious that sourcing food from properly run farms like this avoids the cruelty and abuse of animals that is inevitable in the bigger farm industry.
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