Miracle was born at around nine o'clock in the morning on Tuesday 18th March 2014. Before she had even arrived I knew something was not right. I found her mum (Mrs Miracle) showing signs of calving at six thirty that morning and kept a close eye on her; as she did not seem to be getting on with the job I decided to intervene. As soon as I put my hand in to find the feet I knew that this was not going to be a normal calf. I could feel a mis-shaped nose and other strange things. I feared that we had a dead calf on our hands. With a little pull out popped Miracle! I stood there looking at a calf with very little hair, a massive underbite and a very strange looking head but to my amazement she was alive even though very weak. I was a little unsure what to do and to be fair I thought about putting her out of her misery there and then (oh how glad I am that I didn't). I decided to leave her for a while and see if she improved. By mid-afternoon I could see very little improvement and decided to call Gareth, one of our vets, for a second opinion. He duly arrived and was amazed at what he saw: never had he seen a calf like this and alive. After examining her he seemed to think she would'nt make the next twelve hours so it would be kinder to put her down. It was at that moment that she had her Miracle moment! She started trying to suck our fingers as she was now hungry, now this also gave me hope so I decided that if she had the will to live, then I had the time to help her. I spent the next couple of days feeding her little and often (that didn't last for long) and gradually she started to come alive.
After a couple of days she had found her appetite and was drinking plenty of milk; she seemed to be getting stronger every feed. Now I faced the next problem. Due to her funny- shaped mouth and her underbite and the fact that Mrs Miracle had the biggest teats I had ever seen (any normal calf would have struggled), I either had to keep feeding her substitute milk or find an easy way to milk her mum. Luckily I knew of a simple milking device and promptly ordered it from America. This needed modifying but from the day it arrived I milked Mrs Miracle and then fed the milk straight from mum to Miracle, meaning Mrs Miracle was milking properly and Miracle had all the goodness from her mum's own milk.
Another problem I faced was how to keep Miracle warm. Due to the very little hair she had I was worried that she might catch a chill. After a couple of frantic phone calls I spoke to one of our suppliers near Banbury who by sheer chance had a new calf jumper from New Zealand on his desk to look at. After working out that it would probably be ideal for our little girl I collected it that evening from his house and put it on. As you can see from the photo it was a little on the large side when we first got it (see photos later to see when she had outgrown it), it worked a treat, although it did take Mrs Miracle a while to get used to this strange little thing running around with a jumper on. Miracle loved it and was now lovely and warm.
Miracle soon started to thrive on all the attention she had been getting, becoming a firm favourite. It's fair to say that she had me wrapped around her little hoof (and she knew it). She had many visitors from my family, friends or people from the village; most could not believe that she had survived. She also became a firm favourite with a lot of the other cattle on the farm at the time. She became a good friend of another young calf called Fred who she spent many hours cuddled up to in the pen. Miracle came out of her pen anytime she could and loved to walk up and down greeting the other cattle. Uncle Bullseye was a particular favourite. He loved to try and wash her, it was as though he was her father. Peter the puppy also spent a lot of time playing with Miracle; the two of them were firm friends right until the end.
Miracle fast became a greedy little pig, she would drink as much milk as I could give her. We alway used to sing "pop goes Miracle" to her as she drank so much (12 litres plus a day), the good thing was that her mum always had plenty. One day I noticed that she had started to drink less, at first I was a little worried that she was unwell so I kept an eye on her. After about a week of this I was starting to get very suspicious as to what was going on; she was still having a good 8 litres off me every day but this was nowhere near her usual amount. After feeding one day I happened to creep back to her pen and look what I found! She had worked out that she could now help herself from her Mum's milk machine.
Look at the size she had got to in the photo above, her jumper was now too small for her.
Now Miracle being Miracle, and the little problem I had with the two words hoof and wrapped, still insisted on having a bottle or two every day. Me being the soppy fool I am I gave them to her. Eventually I managed to convince her that she had all the milk she needed with Mum and I stopped feeding her.
Miracle's hair did start to grow, all be it very patchy. Her mouth also straightened a little and her underbite became less prominent. She was now spending all day outside and coming in at night. Her best friend was still Fred.
Eventually I decided it was time for Miracle to join the rest of the cattle and spend the rest of the summer in the meadow. It was lovely watching her and Fred skipping off across the fields together with their mothers in hot pursuit. Now I faced another problem, the sun!
Although her hair had grown there were still bald patches and sunburn was a real possibility. Off to Tesco to find kids' factor 50 was on special offer! I can still see the checkout girl's face when I explained why I need so much! I put the lotion on Miracle every morning and sometimes at lunchtime as well if needed. It was like having a kid on the beach with you. The summer seemed to pass very quickly and it was soon time to wean Miracle from her mother and house her ready for the winter. Amazingly I had managed to get her through the summer without sunburn or any other problems.
It took Miracle sometime to get used to not having her mum around and to make things worse I also had to separate her from her beloved Fred, though they still spent a lot of time together by the partition gates. She spent her first winter housed with all the heifers that were the same age as she was. Unfortunately a few of them knew she was different and bullied her, Lumina and Friendly Pig were probably the worst. Miracle knew I was concerned about this and those two words crop up again, hoof and wrapped! She would make out to me that they would not let her eat meaning I would go into the pen, have a cuddle with her and then stand guard whilst she had food. Every time anyone else saw her she was happily eating!
Wednesday the 18th March 2015 was a very special day, Miracle turned one. She had her very own birthday card and a lovely special birthday bag of food. She even received a message from her favourite vet Katie saying: Happy birthday sweetheart!
Ironically she spent the summer 2015 with one of her worst enemies. We found out Friendly Pig could not be used for breeding so she and Miracle spent most of the summer in a paddock next to the village. She and FP became good friends; there was a lovely moment when the chickens came into the field and chased a petrified FP. Miracle came to her rescue and chased the chickens away, they never came back after that! The owners of the paddock had planted trees in certain areas and somehow FP had worked out how to get in, if you shouted at her she then scurried out. One day I had a frantic phone call from the owner: Miracle had got into the area with Sebastian's prized Walnut tree. That was the end of their stay in this paddock and unfortunately the end of the Walnut tree as well, Miracle would not leave until she had finished it!
The next housing period was to be a turning point in Miracle's life! I had housed her in a pen and put another cow with her for company. In the January her new friend had her calf and I have to say Miracle was absolutely besotted with it, she mothered the new baby as much as its own mother did.
On the 19th February 2016 she had her first adopted baby: one of our old cows had had a problem during calving and unfortunately had to be put down. Miracle was over the moon with her new baby (Maedee), she could not stop smiling bless her. Now, Maedee had never suckled a cow before so was a little unsure what to do, I would bottle feed her morning and night but somehow between Miracle and Maedee they decided that it would be Miracle's Brisket that was to be suckled (that is the bulgy lump under the neck). It really was something to see, Maedee obviously got a lot of comfort from sucking it and Miracle thought she was doing a wonderful job raising her calf! I also managed to trick two of our vets by asking them how the hell Miracle could have given birth to such a lovely baby - both of them looked at me confused before they worked out what was going on.
Now the Pop goes Miracle song soon became Pop goes Maedee, as Miracle seemed to have taught her all she knew! Maedee had also soon worked out how to get me wrapped around her little hoof! Now I had two of them who could play me for a fool whenever they wanted to.
Miracle and Maedee were the stars of our Open Farm Sunday event in the June of 2016. Many of the children that came went over to them to say hello, Miracle always loved the attention. She was never more happy than when she had someone giving her a cuddle; everyone loved Miracle.
Miracle spent the summer of 2016 in the fields with her little baby Maedee, she also looked after Posy when we lost her mum. She was never far from her babies and could become a little over protective if she saw dogs around. I had a few reports of Miracle chasing dogs. Most people saw the funny side of it though, they all knew Miracle and to be fair to her if she caught up with the dogs she would then try and play with them as she had done with Peter the Puppy for all her life. Miracle absolutely loved this summer, she even gave me two of her best ever photo poses: one giving me her cheeky grin and the other was a full 'I could be a show cow' pose! (see below). She also did a great job bringing up Maedee.
Weaning Maedee from Miracle in the October was quite a task. Most cows will get over having their baby taken away from them within three to five days, not Miracle! She was still shouting at me ten days later. She was housed for the first part of this winter with our Autumn calving group, this again gave her the chance to be Auntie Miracle. In mid-January she had her next calf to adopt, due to complications after a caesarian we had to have our lovely Amy put to sleep. Miracle now had Elizabeth to look after. Elizabeth was slightly different to Maedee in the fact she knew how to suckle. Miracle's face was a picture the first time Elizabeth went under her to try and find milk, I have to say Elizabeth's face was also quite good when she realised there was none! So again I was bottle feeding a calf and Miracle was being mum and guess what? Yes it those two words again hoof and wrapped only this time it is probably the worst yet! Miracle again mothered Elizabeth as her own, they were never far away from each other. I thought Miracle was going to knock the door down one day when I had Elizabeth out to de-horn her. Miracle as ever never failed to make me laugh: whilst feeding Elizabeth one day I obviously left the milk bucket too close to the feed fence. On hearing a strange noise I looked around to see Miracle drinking the milk, all grown up but still a baby at heart or as I said to her "Pop goes Miracle". Elizabeth has, just like Maedee, certainly caught the Miracle bug - in August 2017 she was still most insistent on having a bottle of milk a day and guess what? I did it and sang "Pop goes Elizabeth"!
At turnout in 2017 I noticed Miracle had a slight limp. This did not seem to stop her though and she spent many hours chasing Elizabeth across the field, or me if I was going to fill the creep feeder up. As the summer has gone on I noticed a major change in Miracle. Her walking got a lot worse, she struggled to keep up with the others because of this and started to lose a lot of condition. I decided to get her Auntie Katie the vet over to have a look and unfortunately with our thermal imaging technology we found that as I had suspected she had damaged her shoulder. It was at this point that I had to make the best decision for Miracle and due to the fact it was damaged beyond repair and she did look like she was in pain I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life.
There was never a dull moment with Miracle about, she was always happy to give you one of her famous grins, have a cuddle or wear a silly hat for Christmas or Halloween. She even worked out how to selfie!
Miracle was put to sleep on the Fifteenth August 2017
Her legacy will live on, we have two lovely calves (Maedee and Elizabeth) that she has raised and taught everything she knows! They will be around for along while and we (without hesitation) named our new company in her name: Miracle Tech.
Miracle - an amazing character who was loved by everyone who had the fortune to meet her! She was only given twelve hours to live, she achieved almost three and a half fun filled years. Sleep tight little girl you will be missed, who knows our paths may cross again in the future.
Although our little princess is no longer with us she lives on in the form of her two adopted daughters who both have a place in the herd. Below the Miracle family story continues with news on how both Maedee and Elizabeth are doing and the arrival of their calves - what would have been Miracle's grandcalves!!
On the 11th March 2018 Maedee, Miracle's first adopted baby gave birth to her own calf. Patsy Calf was born at around 10 o'clock in the evening on Mothering Sunday. Maedee certainly learned a lot from Miracle, being the perfect mother from the word go. She knows exactly where Patsy Calf is at all times and follows her everywhere. She has even taken to feeding another calf as well - Mulder the twin is also helping himself to milk! Oh how Miracle would have loved being a Grandmoo!!!!!
Maedee has had her second calf, this time on the 17th February 2019 she produced this lovely little bull calf. Again she absolutely adores him following him everywhere he goes!
Miracle's first Grandcalf has now matured to a lovely young heifer so we are adding her to the herd! Patsy Calf is going to be put with our young bull McGregor so she will calve around March 2020, it does not seem possible that she is already this old!