As a third-generation farmer, Dean Gangwer knows a lot about cows— and during one frigid winter, his extensive knowledge helped save the day.
One day, Dean was busy caring for his roughly one hundred cows, when he noticed something odd buried in the snow.
Turns out one of his cows had wandered off alone without him noticing. “She decided to go off by herself, which a lot of cows do,” he told Indy Channel. But instead of simply going on a walk, the cow had given birth to a calf who was now buried in the snow.
“Big old pile of snow, I found this calf lying there.”
The baby was freezing cold and motionless, but Gangwer could still detect breathing.
Hoping to save the calf before it was too late, he put the animal in his truck and rushed toward home. “I’ve been in the cattle business a long time,” he said. “They always talk about warm baths with calves; I thought I’d put him in the tub!”
When he reached his property, he noticed his hot tub, and a light went off in his head.
“I jumped in fully dressed, held Leroy [the calf] up so he didn’t drown, and him and I had a nice bath for an hour.”
With his quick thinking, Gangwer saved the baby’s life.
Within a few days, the cow’s temperature was back to normal and he was able to nurse. “Leroy’s officially done hot tubbing,” said Gangwer. “[But] some sunbathing is definitely in his future.”
Calves born in the winter often encounter challenges not faced by those born in warmer seasons. When a baby cow is born, the normal temperature is about 103°F, which drops roughly one degree within a few hours.
Usually, when a calf is born, its mother will quickly lick it off to help it dry. But, a wet calf will continue to chill— especially if there’s a breeze. If its body temperature plummets to 101°F, things can get dangerous.
“If it drops below 101°F, this means the calf can’t thermoregulate and keep itself warm,” explained Robert Callan, professor of clinical science in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University.
A cold, chilled calf will often fail to nurse— and those that can’t ingest their mother’s colostrum have poor survival rates. Without its mother’s milk, a calf doesn’t have the energy to keep warm or the antibodies to protect against disease. Not to mention, cold calves, in general, are less able to absorb antibodies from the colostrum they do get.
Since being uploaded, Ganger’s story has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
People love how he saved the calf’s life— not to mention, the adorable photos of the two of them in their hot tub bath.
“Aww how sweet! What a cute little sweetheart!”
“Omg that’s so funny, a cow in a hot tub. Btw, he’s so cute.”
“Love this. Once we helped a newborn calf during an ice storm by using two hair dryers to warm him up.”
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