This Baby Bison’s story began in late July with his late season birth. Unfortunately, his mother had complications and she had to be put down two days after giving birth. He had never met the herd – typical for bison, he had been kept by his mother in a corner of the pasture – but we had high hopes one of the other lactating mothers would adopt him. They tried. When we approached to check on him, the herd surrounded him and multiple members of the heard licked his head.

finding a new family? trying to feed with herd

But each time the herd began to move, he would wander back to the last place he saw his mother.

IMG_5378

We were going to have to bottle feed him. But catching a two day old bison is harder than you may think. Already faster than a deer, and under the watchful protection of a herd of full grown bison, our first attempts at corralling the baby were unsuccessful.

The next morning with more vehicles and a more experienced staff, the bison was cornered and taken to the barn. Executive Director Conrad Kramer took on “other duties as assigned” and with his wife Lisa and son Lief they went about trying to feed the bison calf milk replacer.

This video shows our third, and most successful attempt to get the first bottle of milk into the two day old calf. The calf, although weakened by almost two days without food and water, is obviously the product of millions of years of evolution. He is a real fighter. Watch how effective the weakened infant is in fighting two men off when he is ready to move. (Conrad adds a disclaimer: The old man had just finished mountain biking several challenging miles and was exhausted before this ordeal started.)

Want to see more? Here is an earlier attempt.

Just like all babies, the first bath is a big deal, and our bison had a first bath video.

But raising a bison isn’t easy and this baby has some medical complications ahead. Stay tuned next week to find out if the bison survives it’s first few weeks.