Premature calf finding its legs on P.E.I. farm

Randall Affleck says his nephew was cutting grass in a field on the family-run Auchinleck Farms in Bedeque, P.E.I., Tuesday when he came across a premature calf.

"There was a tiny calf where there was not supposed to be any calves coming for a couple months," Affleck said.

When he pulled up in his truck he could hear the calf bawling from the road.

"I walked over and sure enough there was a tiny little calf. I calculated mom was due on Oct. 1. So, it was 56 days at the time," he said.

Affleck said it is "fairly rare" for a calf to be born 56 days premature.

"I wasn't even watching those heifers, when they get closer to their due date you keep a much closer eye on them and they will start showing signs of getting ready to calf," Affleck said.

Calf named Juniper

He said because they weren't close to birthing, he wasn't keeping a close eye on them other then supplying food and water.

"It's a good thing my nephew was cutting hay that day," Affleck said.

Randall Affleck

The premature calf's name is Juniper and she is about 20 to 30 pounds "soaking wet," he said.

"She got a set of lungs on her because she was bawling like crazy," Affleck said.

Juniper was born on Tuesday, but she didn't stand up until Friday, he said.

"Quite honestly I didn't think she was going to make it, but she had the urge to live."

Didn't get 1st milk

Affleck said the calf is still "a long way from being out of the woods," because it didn't get any colostrum, the first milk produced from the mother that contains antibodies to protect the newborn against disease.

"She might have trouble, you know, down the road with her immune system but right now she is as healthy as a horse," Affleck said.

He said Juniper is up and walking around, but still struggles to stand up.

"She is a weaker calf but she is drinking and pooping and walking, so that's a good sign for anybody really," he said.

He said there hasn't been a whole lot of additional care other than what is done with a regular birth.

"You kind of know when they are going downhill and when they are holding their own, and she always held her own," he said.

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