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MORE COWBELL: Rufus & Oreo Transferred to SARA

Rufus & Oreo are 2 male Holstein steers who were transferred to SARA Sanctuary in May 2021. Their previous sanctuary home struggled to make it during the difficult economic times of the pandemic.

Rufus & Oreo were rescued at 5 days old from a dairy and brought home in the back seat of the family Jeep.

Male calves born at the dairy are usually immediately killed or grown for veal. It’s actually cheaper for farmers to kill male calves immediately than to feed them for a few weeks for veal meat.

“I’m sitting here remembering when we picked up Rufus from the dairy where he was born. The males are of no use to a dairy, so they are typically sent to slaughter shortly after birth. I knew absolutely nothing about cattle and I’d heard these dairy babies are often hard to save, but I wanted to give them a fighting chance.”  

“There were 20 or so to choose from. I wanted to take them all, but we’d decided to take 2. I chose the handsome colorful calf with the blue eyes and we named him Oreo. Sam chose the smallest, bow-legged calf and we named him Rufus.”   

“Rufus was so sick and weak. I had to put a tube in his belly to force feed him and give him electrolytes every 4 hours. At his worst, he was comatose in the bathtub. I almost gave up on him. I put a catheter in his jugular to administer IV fluids and cried. We sat beside him that night saying our goodbyes.”  

“But Rufus wasn’t ready to go. The next morning he sat up on his own! Then he stood and walked on his own and started drinking from the bottle. That was the turning point for him. Now he’s strong and thriving. He’s still smaller than Oreo but he’s mighty!”

SARA is the new home for these 2 dairy steers or ‘cowboys’. Very rarely do you see a 2 year old Holstein steer. You usually see the dairy moms who are producing milk, but they only live to be 5 or 6. Once dairy cows drop in milk producing, they are sent to slaughter. The lifespan of a Holstein is approximately 15 to 20 years. 

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