Billy thinks the world of himself
Billy’s charm and good looks may have saved from the bobby calf truck, but it’s left him with an inflated sense of his own importance.
That’s not a bad thing in a young Friesian bull – his future with the ladies might depend on it. But the Walmsley family of Honikiwi, near Otorohanga, wonder if the farmer who buys him might be in for a shock.
Now he’s won four ribbons at the Otorohanga South School Pet Day – not a first prize though, because he doesn’t like to walk on a lead. And he’s destined for even greater things as an IHC calf.
It all started when two-month old Billy had a tough start and needed a lot of special attention.
“Billy was a very big calf and he got stuck basically. John had to calve the cow and when they are stuck for too long their tongues get swollen, so he had to be tube fed for a few days,” says Marin Walmsley, who farms 250 cows on a steep 120ha farm with her husband John.
“His tongue stayed swollen for a couple of weeks and was permanently poking out. We used to take him out of the pen each day and feed him on his own feeder because he was so slow at drinking,” she says.
“We became very attached to him and couldn’t possibly put him on the bobby truck so he became our IHC calf. As time went on he would run to the gate to get out when he saw us coming.”
Now Billy’s self-esteem has had another boost. He was pet of choice for the Walmsley’s nine-year-old daughter Tegan at the Otorohanga South School pet day today (30 September) and won third prize in the fancy dress section dressed up with Tegan as ‘Red Indians’.
“Billy had been promoted to the pet calf pen as he didn’t really like it outside on the big feeder and wanted to be back inside with the pet day calves. All Tegan wanted was a cuddly animal for pets day and so we suggested she think about taking Billy. Billy had been lining up for brushes each day as it was.”
“He has always looked good because he has always been pampered. On a bigger farm it wouldn’t happen,” Marin says.
“Tegan wanted a pet that would stay with us, but she understands that Billy is special because he will help raise money for IHC. There is a special needs unit at our children’s school and the children in the unit are just like them only need some extra help. We feel they are very lucky to have such exposure to IHC as it helps them to understand that all people deserve respect and have the same basic needs as one another.”
Marin and John have been donating calves to the PGG Wrightson IHC Calf & Rural Scheme since 2004. The 27-year-old PGG Wrightson IHC Calf & Rural Scheme raised $1.4 million last year mainly from dairy farmers to make lives better for people with intellectual disabilities.
“I’m not sure that the farmer that purchases Billy will be thrilled to have a pet Friesian bull in his mob, but hopefully he will understand that he has made a little girl very happy.”
For more information please contact:
Philippa Sellens IHC Communications Manager
04 495 2771, 027 490 4925 or firstname.lastname@example.org