As the dry season progresses the grasses loose nutritional value, the consequence being that the animals need to eat more but actually don’t derive much goodness from what they consume, the animals body condition deteriorates. If this is allowed to reach extreme limits the animal is literally starved to death.
In some cases due to age, illness or injury death is unavoidable for some animals in a pastoral grazing situation. Some die irrespective of abundance of feed and time of year.
When cows that have calves have lost excessive condition or have died, often the step is taken to capture very young calves to take home and feed there. If the mother is still alive this allows the mother to survive on her own while we raise the calf with milk and feed. These orphan calves are known as ‘Poddies’.
If the Cow was allowed to keep her calf she would likely continue to degenerate in condition and possibly die, while the calf would most likely die as well. The threat of wild dog attack on an unprotected calf is also highly likely to kill the small animal. Often the calves caught already have some form of dog damage on them, tails and ears torn.