Lucky by name and by nature

By Sophie Baldwin

What’s in a name?

For crossbred calf Lucky, quite a bit — after all, this three-month-old steer is quite literally lucky to be alive.

He has had more brushes with death than most animals would have in a lifetime, but like the little fighter he is, he has defied the odds each and every time.

Owner Steven Dalitz from Yalca said his little buddy’s fighting spirit inspired him every day.

‘‘He meets me every morning to help feed the calves, taste testing every bucket of milk,’’ Mr Dalitz said.

‘‘He always comes up for a scratch and he definitely keeps me going as I see him battle his way through life.

‘‘I would hate to imagine how much time and money I’ve spent on this silly crossbred steer who I probably should have knocked on the head multiple times, but he now helps pep me up on my down times and has earned the right to live out his days.’’

Lucky has had a hard road from birth.

When his mum was calving, Mr Dalitz checked her at 7pm — the sac was broken and two feet were present.

A visit from Mr Dalitz’s parents from Adelaide distracted him and when he got up in the morning, Lucky still wasn’t born.

Fully expecting to pull a dead calf, Mr Dalitz was surprised when Lucky popped out and took his first, shaky breath.

He wasn’t well but he was alive.

It took Lucky three days before he could stand and a week before he could walk.

During that time he banged his head on the ground and his eye swelled up.

Next up was a bad case of scours. Lucky got so sick he couldn’t stand.

Mr Dalitz fed him electrolytes morning and night, put a jacket on him to ward off the cold and fully expected to find him dead the next morning.

But not Lucky. He slowly got better over the next few days.

A few weeks later Mr Dalitz noticed Lucky lying in a puddle near the dairy looking sick again.

On closer inspection his backside and pizzle were fly-blown; a dose of antibiotics and he was soon back on the mend again.

A few uneventful weeks followed but one morning Mr Dalitz couldn’t find Lucky anywhere.

On his adventures, Lucky had managed to fall into an old sheep dip trough and when he was found, Lucky was looking up at him as if to say, ‘yep I have done it again’.

Mr Dalitz said all the adversity Lucky had faced in his short life had earned him the right to roam freely around the farm — but that freedom did nearly cost him his life once again.

Mr Dalitz had a dead calf to be picked up and when the truck arrived at the property Lucky waltzed up to the driver, Jezza, for a scratch — Lucky loves a scratch and the longer the scratch the better.

‘‘To add to everything, Lucky’s back leg is a little paralysed from nerve damage,’’ Mr Dalitz said.

‘‘Jezza thought he might need shooting but luckily for Lucky, Jezza is a thinking driver as he’d been told to pick up a dead calf and gave me a call.’’

Lucky had managed to dodge a bullet yet again.

In fact, it seems luck must well and truly run in the family.

‘‘Lucky’s mum went to market Monday night, one of those hard decisions I had to make, but I only got offered 40¢/kg for her, so she is back home and back in the dairy.’’