Road to Recovery: Man works to save calf found in ditch

Road to Recovery: Man works to save calf found in ditch

AYNOR, SC (WMBF) - An Aynor man is working to save a calf after the calf and its mother were found in a ditch.

The pair was found Friday after the dam left the herd to birth the calf, said Elder Hucks, who owns the animals.

Hucks said he took a call from his dad at around 4:30 p.m. Friday. His dad noticed the cow was missing.

"Usually, when a dam gets by herself, secludes herself from the herd, she's trying to find a place to [give birth]," Hucks said. "My grandma used to call it, 'She's going to go find a calf,'" he said.

Once Hucks found the dam and calf, he said he put together a "cow survival kit." Hucks said he didn't know how long the pair had been in the ditch.

To turn his pool house into a calf-proof crib, "I took a dog bed and laid it out for the calf, took old towels and turned the heat on," Hucks said.

He spent the majority of the night bottle-feeding the 80-pound animal. He said the animal was definitely in shock.

"When animals go into shock, they lay down a lot," he added. "Their motor skills shut down - [the calf] was nearly lifeless."

Hucks said the baby bull's lips were purple when he found him.

Hucks said he drove to a nearby feed store, bought colostrum and started an IV for the calf. He said the IV fluids will cause the body to heat itself. Colostrum is the first milk produced during pregnancy.

"When a [dam] has a calf, it is imperative that calf gets colostrum. It's the nutrients for the immune system," Hucks said.

Born and raised on a farm, Hucks has an affinity for animals and has worked with them all his life. He is in his twelfth year serving at the Horry County Animal Care Center. But there is something special about this pair.

The baby bull is the third generation of a cow Hucks got when he was six.

"I worked all summer long to get that cow's mama," Hucks recalled.

The dam's dam died last year. She was 27 years old, Hucks said.

In high school, Hucks spent his senior year waking up at 5 a.m. bottle-feeding two sets of twins goats, so this isn't his first rodeo.

"Never get your hopes up, do all you can do, and once you have that feeling in your heart -- leave it up to the animal," Hucks said.

The dam and calf were reunited Saturday morning.

So far, no names have been picked out for the baby bull. Hucks says his niece and nephew have been eager to bottle-feed the calf and have been calling him Little St. Nick and Lucky.

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