Newborn calf is bottle-fed by a labrador after being rescued
Are moo my mum? Calf being hand-reared by vet’s family after being born on a frozen lake strikes up unlikely bond with family’s Labrador who feeds her with a bottle
- Calf Penelope was born on a frozen lake near Alfreton, Derbyshire, in February
- She was hypothermic when vet Graham Oliver and his partner Heidi saved her
- Penelope has moved into the family’s home at Carnfield Hall estate in Derbyshire
- The newborn calf is now adorably bottle-fed by the family’s labrador Algernon
A newborn calf has become an unlikely friend of a family’s labrador, who has adorably started bottle-feeding the calf after she was rescued to be hand-reared.
Vet Graham Oliver, his partner Heidi and their sons Tom and Dougie, four, rescued calf Penelope after she was born on a frozen lake near Alfreton, Derbyshire, in the middle of February.
Penelope was hypothermic and at serious risk of dying before the family decided to save her, remarkably using the bucket of a JCB digger.
Since moving into the family’s home at the 100-acre Carnfield Hall estate in Derbyshire, the family’s labrador Algernon has unusually started caring for Penelope by sleeping alongside the calf and bottle-feeding her.
Newborn calf Penelope, who was rescued by vet Graham Oliver and his partner Heidi, has made friends with their pet labrador Algernon, and is even bottle-fed by the dog (pictured)
Graham, Heidi and their son Tom (pictured) rescued Penelope as she hypothermic after being born on a frozen lake near Alfreton, Derbyshire, in the middle of February
Heidi explained: ‘Our black Lab, Algernon, couldn’t help but get involved and likes to help out with the bottle-feeding.
‘He even lets Penelope have his bed and sleeps next to her to protect her.’
Their other pooch Wilberforce has also become an unlikely friend for Penelope, and the pair are often seen sharing an adorable kiss while playing with one another.
Speaking about the calf’s initial rescue, Heidi explained: ‘We couldn’t get her out because mum was being super protective.
‘The large animal rescue team had been dispatched from the local fire service, but whilst they were en-route, Graham and his son Tom worked to distract mum, and drag her from the water using the bucket on a JCB.’
Heidi’s vet partner Tom took Penelope to their house to warm her and clean her, but when they returned to the field, the mother rejected her and even tried to kill her.
Heidi explained that the calf’s mother also tried to attack them, so they quickly rescued Penelope for the second time, and took her to their home to be hand-reared.’
Since moving into the family’s home at the 100-acre Carnfield Hall estate in Derbyshire, the family’s labrador Algernon adorably sleeps alongside Penelope (pictured)
Heidi explained they decided to rescue the calf and hand-rear her in their own home after her mother (above) rejected Penelope and even tried to kill her
Heidi said that the whole family, including their four-year-old son Dougie (pictured), have grown to love the adorable calf since she has moved into their home
She continued: ‘She was very poorly, and hypothermic. Tom carried her to the house to clean and warm her. We returned her to the field in the hope mum would not reject her.
‘Mum not only rejected her, probably because we’d washed her scent off, but made a serious attempt in killing her. And she tried to attack us too when we tried to rescue Penelope for the second time.
‘We used quad bikes to get in and out quickly and brought the calf to the Hall to be hand-reared.’
‘She refused to accept milk, so her first feed of colostrum was given via a stomach tube.
‘The following day, she became weaker. A local farmer, helped us introduce Penelope to a temporary surrogate mother.
‘Once she accepted the milk, we began combining the surrogate’s milk with formula, until Penelope was accepting a bottle.’
Penelope is now settled at the animal-filled Carnfield Hall, which is already home to 27 highland cattle and a herd of llamas. Kept as pets, the family describe them as ‘high maintenance lawnmowers’.
Penelope has settled in at the animal-filled Carnfield Hall, is already home to 27 highland cattle and a herd of llamas (pictured, Penelope kissing the family’s dog Wilberforce)
Tom’s girlfriend Georgia Hewitt (pictured) has become a ‘mum’ to Penelope, while they plan to integrate the calf with their llamas once she grows too big to live inside their home
The family are currently considering integrating Penelope with the llamas at Carnfield Hall because she will quickly become too big to live inside their home.
But for now, Heidi said they have had ‘a bit of a problem’ toilet training Penelope while Tom’s girlfriend Georgia Hewitt has become a ‘mum’ for the sweet calf.
She explained: ‘Georgia has assumed the role of mum and is managing amazingly.
‘Both our dogs and cats accepted her straight away and they all play together. Although toilet training a calf is a bit of a problem.
‘I’m not sure what the plan is for the future – her horns will grow and she won’t be able to fit through the front door – so we need to start planning.
‘We are thinking to integrate her with the llamas. Either way, she’s made friends with the children, the dogs, and with all of us.
‘She’s a Covid baby. Super-special, a great survivor and we all love her to bits.’
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