One little calf is lucky to be snuggling up to the rest of the herd on Steve Ault's farm in American Fork. If it hadn't been for Ault and his neighbor, Max Bond, the calf would have perished recently in Bear Canyon in Provo Canyon.
Three weeks ago, Ault brought his cows - 23 in all - out of Bear Canyon, where they had spent the summer grazing. Ault noticed he was one head short, but figured it was a bull, and wasn't too concerned.After hauling two truck loads of cows to American Fork, Ault returned for a final load, and spotted the missing cow - a young heifer - standing outside the loading corral. Ault decided the heifer had gotten hung up eating somewhere; he noticed, however, evidence that she might have recently given birth to a calf.
Ault and his father, Howard Ault, observed that the heifer wasn't mooing or looking around as though she had a calf hidden somewhere; and, calving occurs in the springtime, they reasoned. They took the final load of cows, including the heifer, home to American Fork.
The next day, Ault, still concerned about evidence the heifer had had a calf recently, asked Bond to take a look at her. Bond suggested Ault have a veterinarian look at the cow; the veterinarian wasn't sure: either the heifer was about to abort a fetus or recently had given birth.
The two men decided there was only one way to find out whether the heifer had left a calf behind in Bear Canyon: they loaded her in the truck again, and took her back up the canyon. Sure enough, as soon as they let her out, she headed off down a trail, and there, not too far away, was a day-old calf, nestled in a thicket from which all the snow had been cleared.
"She must have been born the day we moved the herd out," Ault said. "Being a young heifer like that, they don't know all the ropes, so to speak."
Bond said a newborn calf will not move from the spot in which it is born unless its mother forces it to.
"Leaving it overnight like that, it amazed us that it was still alive," Bond said. "That's the neat thing."