The Prisoner


Prisoner #1-8180


  • 1 Count of Felonious Neglect Of  Newborn Calf By Refusal To Clean and Nurse Said Calf
  • 3 Counts Of Felonious Kicking With Intent To Harm Newborn Calf
  • 1 Count Of Misdemeanor Attempted Escape From Barn Pen
  • 1 Count Of Misdemeanor Property Damage By Driving One’s 800 Pound Body Repeatedly Into Barn Gate Reducing It To A Mangled Worthless Mess


Victim:  Newborn Calf, Daughter To The Prisoner



Date of Offenses: 3-29-13

Date of Arrest, Arraignment, Preliminary Hearing, Pre-Trial Motions, Trial, Verdict, and Sentence: 3-29-13

Judge: The Honorable Farmer Harland


  • Confinement and Therapy – How To Be A Good Mother To A Newborn Calf
  • Wearing Of Halter Tied With Lead Rope To Post (To Prevent Head-Butting Of Calf) and Wearing of Hobbles On Back Legs (To Prevent Kicking At Calf)



Note:  Prisoner’s lead rope is of sufficient length as to allow Prisoner to either stand or to lie down. Prisoner is fed plenty of hay and water daily. Prisoner can walk with hobbles on, but cannot lift feet high enough to kick her calf.

Sentence Duration:  Indefinite Number of Days: No Less Than Three and No More Than 7, Or Until Judge Harland Loses His Patience


Status:  As Of 3rd Day Of Therapy:  While the Prisoner should be commended for their present state of calmness, which is much preferred over their previous state of hysterical thrashing about when initially sentenced and confined, the Prisoner is still unwilling to take care of her calf. The Prisoner has yet to make the “new mother soft mooing sound” to the calf, or to clean the calf or to nuzzle it. But worst of all, when the calf attempts to nurse, the Prisoner moves away,  or attempts to head-butt it. Fortunately, the Prisoner’s calf is persistent and willing to chase the Prisoner around the pen to nurse.

Of additional concern is the influence of the Prisoner over the victim:

“My Mommy did this.”


“When I grow up, I want to be just like her!”


Parole Status:  More therapy is needed for the Prisoner until she decides to be a good mother, or until Judge Harland deems the therapy to be ineffective. At which point Prisoner will be sold, and the victim will go to a good home as a bottle calf.

Case Status:  On Hold. Awaiting positive outcome, but prepared for negative outcome. Judge Harland has seen many positive reversals of “Bad Mom Syndrome” with this type of therapy and remains hopeful.  Case will be revisited at a later date.


4-4-13:   Update:   Harland took the halter and hobbles off the prisoner this afternoon and reported that while she is not being motherly toward her calf (cleaning, talking, nuzzling), she’s also NOT kicking or head-butting it while it nurses.  She’s not going to win any “mother of the year” awards, but at least she’s letting the calf nurse and that’s a big thing. So, the plan is to leave her in the barn pen for another day just to make sure, and then they can both go out to pasture with the other young moms and babies. And that will be a week to the day since the prisoner was confined to the barn. Why are some cows so stubborn?  Geez!


Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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21 Responses

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Why do they do that sometimes? Poor little calf!

    • Suzanne says:

      Lack of the Mommy hormone? Who knows… Fortunately, it doesn’t happen often. And the calf is fine for now. Since all she’s ever known in a mother is a cow who tap dances around when she tries to nurse, she’s happy with her lot in life. This is her “normal”, poor thing.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Very interesting….so surprised that a momma can have these traits!

  3. Glenda says:

    Been watching too much NCIS Suzanne???

    • Suzanne says:

      Ha Ha… 🙂 Actually, Dateline and 48 Hours Mystery. And that year when I worked at the prosecutor’s office.

  4. Pansy says:

    Unfortunately during my 41 year teaching career I met several parents who needed some treatment like this to provide the proper nurturing for their offspring….You do wonder though what causes it….I mean I can’t even resist the cuteness factor in baby mice though I draw the line at feeding and caring for them. They are on their own……….LOL!

    • Suzanne says:

      LOL, I was thinking that some people need this treatment when I wrote this. It’s a puzzle why some cows do this. The vast majority of them push out their calf, get to their feet, and immediately start taking care of their calf and would defend it to the death. Then there’s cows like this one who push out their calf, get up and walk away…. When Harland checked on the Heifers that day the poor calf was up and trying to suck from any of them that would hold still.

  5. Alica says:

    I think Judge Harland is very, very patient. I think I’d be rather tempted to pass a sentence of “cattle truck” very quickly on said prisoner. Victim is udderly cute…as I think all angus (?) calves are!

    • Suzanne says:

      The judge’s wife was ready to load up the prisoner on the truck that same day but the judge is far more patient than I am and to his credit, I’ve seen this work many times. Couple years ago we had a real calf hater/kicker. She was the queen of hostility. But After 8 days of therapy she started licking the calf and cleaning it. Then she started the new mom MOO. And When let out into the pasture she was one of the most protective and watchful mothers we had that year among the heifers. Darndest thing.

  6. Lynda M O says:

    Wow, so the baby thinks milk comes with dancing… may have a future there !~!

    How’s the mom who had that big-headed baby that caused her to lay out for a dozen mins or so after birth. We watched video over two days…

    • Suzanne says:

      She’s doing fine Lynda, hopping and running around in the pasture with the other babies. There are 6 of them in the heifer pasture now and starting to run in a gang like they do at this age. Playing, head-butting, bucking and winging.

  7. Teresa says:

    Hope she comes to her mothering senses. I think the only time I’ve had goats refuse kids is when they know they can’t raise them. Well, except Helen, but she’s a brat.

    • Suzanne says:

      We’ve had that happen too. Several years ago, we had a cow who’s condition had gone down thru the winter and when spring came and she had her calf, she simply walked away from it. We weren’t surprised.
      But maybe your Helen needs some therapy? 🙂

  8. Jeanne says:

    Well, that’s quite a story! I’ll be looking for a follow-up!! I think it’s a good thing I married a pastor and not a cattle rancher!! I hope it will all turn out well!

  9. Mickey K. says:

    I love the way you wrote this story! Very clever and fun to read! I am going to make sure my boys read this when they get home from school. They enjoy reading, and seeing picts about life on the farm….. Thank you!

  10. bonita says:

    All that’s missing from this story is the da dumph from Law and Order, SVU.

  11. Joanna Harrison says:

    Great!. I have a new mom heifer 1/2 beltie,1/2 angus. Kicks at baby. Put her in a head gate, put halter on, let her out and tie around RR tie. Then tie up feet. She is better as long as she knows her feet are tied together. But, even after ordering an XL halter, she can slip out. She has the biggest, ugliest angus head and halters don’t fit her correctly. So, do you know of any angus halters? Could I use horse hobbles? We are leaving for a week, could we leave the hobbles on in a pen or small pasture if we have the neighbor boys check when they will feed twice a day? We are waiting for grandma to calve, I know that she would accept him. She already cleaned and nursed him after he was born. Young generation, wanting grandma to raise the kids! Thanks for the article. Gives me hope.

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