Left to suffer in a state of severe neglect on a property in northern California, Oliver and another tiny calf were so malnourished that they had nearly starved to death by the time local authorities came to confiscate them. The animals had been acquired by a family who entrusted their care to a teenage daughter, but when the youth didn’t follow through, the babies’ lives took a turn for the worse. Thankfully, the abuse was eventually reported, but the calves’ rescue couldn’t have been more bittersweet. When help finally came for them, it was too late for Oliver’s companion, who was too far gone to be saved and died shortly after arriving at Animal Control facilities.
As male Jerseys, a breed of cattle used by the dairy industry, Oliver and his friend were likely of no use to the farm on which they were born, and, after being separated from their mothers, were probably taken to auction and sold. The reason why the young girl had been given the calves to raise is unknown, but the fact that they shouldn’t have been in her care is clear. Unfortunately, most other male dairy calves don’t fare much better. Often slaughtered as mere babies for cheap veal or simply discarded as trash, they are thought to be expendable, even though they feel pain and fear just like any other newborns who long for the comfort and care of their mothers. So as soon as we heard about Oliver, we knew that we needed to help him and offered to take him in.
When he arrived at our California Shelter, Oliver showed all the signs of having gone through the later stages of starvation as his belly was extremely distended and he had uncharacteristic white lines on his hooves. Being so malnourished, it was difficult for us to tell at first how old he was. But after a thorough examination, his vet determined that he was about four to five months old despite his small size, so we started feeding him a steady diet of alfalfa, hay and feed pellets specially designed for growing calves. Tests performed by Oliver’s doctor also revealed that the calf was suffering from giardia, so we began treating him for that as well. Happily, soon after his arrival, Oliver developed a voracious appetite for all kinds of food and really began to perk up.
As his health improves, little Oliver unsurprisingly still remains a bit shy, but thanks to the love and attention everyone shows him, he is starting to come out of his shell a little more each day. He is also becoming more and more playful and loves to run and buck outside, as well as nibble on grass, on sunny fall days. Right now, we also have a group of turkeys in the hospital stall next to him, and he loves to interact with them through the fence and marvel at these curious new roommates – the likes of which he’s probably never seen before! When he is bigger and stronger, and is cleared for integration with other cattle, we will introduce him to Elliot, another calf we rescued this year, and, in him, we hope Oliver will have a new best friend for life.
After all he’s been through, little Oliver deserves only the very best in life, and we are doing everything we can to give that to him. But, sadly, while this sweet calf is safe in our care, there are still many more abused and neglected animals out there who are in desperate need of rescue. You can help us come to their aid and give them refuge by making a contribution to our Emergency Rescue Fund today. Your generosity will help save lives and give farm animals just like Oliver the second chances they deserve. Thank you for your support!