It seems that something unusual is going on at Mount Bundy Station, Australia. An aged mare named Crystal has taken the responsibility to rear a Brahman calf called Cooper. Cooper was orphaned at birth and has found comfort with the company of Crystal.
The mare does not seem to mind the calf’s company either. The horse and calf seem to have formed a great family. It turns out that this unusual bond is not that unheard of. Experts say that female animals have been known to adopt young animals belonging to a different species before, and it is just a matter of circumstance.
A Combination of Needs
Crystal and Cooper have become an unlikely family due to their individual situations. Cooper did not have a mother to look after him while Crystal had spent a lifetime raising foals but does not have any now, so she misses being a mother. Crystal is an ex-broodmare who has raised a total of six foals over a period of ten years. The owner points out that the mare was always a great mother and raised the foals very well.
The calf sometimes tries to suck at the adoptive mother’s teats even though they are dry. They spend a considerable amount of time together and bond very well on most occasions.
Animals are More Compassionate than We Know
Incidentally, this is not the first time Crystal has adopted a calf. Last year, she let another orphaned calf suckle her after it was let off the bottle. This managed to get attention from far and wide, as people came to Mount Bundy Cattle Station to watch the unlikely duo.
Although she is too old to brood, Crystal has still proven to be a caring mother regardless of the species of offspring she is taking care of. This special relationship may not last forever but it shows that animals are capable of compassion towards young animals that are not their own.
Companionship of a Different Sort
Some experts say that this behavior arises from individual needs of the animal. In this case, the mare and calf are not getting anything from this relationship other than companionship. Generically, cows, horses, and buffalos get along very well together in ranches, where they are reared and fed together. Experts also say that animals raised in closed spaces such as zoos and ranches have a higher likelihood of developing interspecies bonds. Whatever the case, Crystal and Cooper are living examples that animals are creatures of compassion and consideration.
Mount Bundy’s co-owner, Ms. Witham, says that Crystal sometimes kicks and bites the calf to make it go away but soon starts looking for it. According to Ms. Witham, the mare is doing what she thinks is right by feeding the calf even though she has no milk. The calf has earned the companionship of a mother and will certainly benefit from it. We have seen it before where a dog nursed a litter with a baby squirrel in it. However unusual this may seem, what matters is that a horse and a calf have come together to form a great little family of the likes we don't commonly see.