Pet love saving calves
NORTH Arm animal activist Kirstie Henning is rescuing Jersey calves from dairy farms and turning them into family pets that can play hide and seek.
The Old MacDonald's Travelling Farms Sunshine Coast franchise owner said male Jersey calves were a burden on dairy farms because they do not produce milk.
"Sometimes they just become dog food or whatever," she said.
"So I've been saving them and rehoming them."
The RSPCA estimates 400,000 male and female calves are slaughtered each year because they are not part of the milking herd and surplus to requirements.
Mrs Henning was surprised by the response she received when she posted an online ad for her original Jersey steer Gilbert-Jones after it grew too big for her travelling farm education show.
"People were willing to pay much more than I had offered," she said.
"So I realised there was a lot of people who wanted to help and I could start homing calves and making sure they don't suffer that fate."
Gilbert-Jones was relocated to Kureelpa where he became a favourite of Jodi Johnston's young neighbours.
"He's very friendly," Mrs Johnston said.
"He's a bit of a lawnmower and he just goes around the paddock eating grass, and everyone loves him."
Mrs Henning said the steers, which can grow to about 500kg, make surprisingly good pets.
"You can teach them to play hide and seek and they love cuddles," she said.
Despite the size of the animals, Mrs Johnston, who also owns an older Jersey steer, said the cattle can be led around like a dog.
"They are very good natured and obedient," she said.
Mrs Henning has homed 10 steers so far and is waiting on another five to arrive at her North Arm farm.
"They're like a puppy when they're little and when they're younger they are docile-natured," Mrs Henning said.
"They'll come up for a pat and you can hand feed them."