Tiny Boy

The calf took the keys out of the ignition! You don’t understand. We were driving down the ROAD!


Farm life attracts humorous stories like Alabama attracts mosquitos. This is one of those stories.

Meet Tiny Boy. He was a special calf. He belonged to Titus, who was the mature age of 3 years when he accepted the chore of raising the animal. The poor calf had been abandoned as a newborn by his mother during a scorching hot July day. Dustin rescued him and brought him home. To survive, the calf would need to be fed bottles daily. Over the years, Dustin has brought home several bottle calves. Some bottle babies became sweet friends of ours. Others have broken our hearts when they did not survive. Tiny Boy did survive. And ten years later, we still laugh at the stories he left us with.

When Tiny Boy was several weeks old, he happily roamed our backyard. We live on a cattle farm after all, and its not unusual for a bottle calf to lounge near the house. One day, the calf accidentally tipped our garbage cans over. Things fell out. An orange caught his attention and of course the logical thing was that he should attempt to eat it. A whole orange. The calf lodged the citrus in his throat.

Now, don’t get too upset, Tiny Boy could breathe just fine. But there was no way he could eat or drink anything else and he was drooling everywhere. So, Dustin loaded him into the front seat of the old farm truck and headed to the vet for help. We handle most of our own cattle medical needs, but a lodged orange was something we had zero experience with.

On the way to the vet, Tiny Boy was “nosing” everything inside the truck. Bottle calves are particularly interested in searching for just about anything to nurse. The ignition keys caught the calf’s attention. The old truck was well used and the ignition wasn’t exactly in factory condition anymore. So, the keys quickly and easily slipped out. As in, the truck was moving, but the ignition had been turned off and the keys were gone. Dustin immediately noticed that the truck was completely dead, but still rolling. He looked to his right and saw the ignition key dangling from the calf’s mouth. Dustin grabbed the slobbery keys from the calf. He was able to return them to the ignition. The old, trusty truck fired up and the journey continued. Tiny Boy received a stern talking to after that and was shoved back to his seat.

The vet was a bit bewildered by the lodged orange and had never seen a calf in such a predicament. He was finally able to help Tiny Boy after a few various treatment attempts. Tiny Boy returned home, without the lodged citrus. He survived his fruit eating mischief. The calf also thankfully never tried to take control of a vehicle again.

In fact, Tiny Boy grew into a very large calf. He enjoyed being loved by a small child and was Titus’ best friend for quite some time. After his garbage can exploration, we began keeping him in his pen, though.

When Dustin and I slow our workload someday, we will surely have a steady supply of stories to recall. One of them just might begin with, “Hey, do you remember the time Tiny Boy stole the truck keys?”

Thanks for reading,


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