When a good samaritan began to notice something different about the cattle farm she passed on her morning commute, she couldn’t help but focus on two cows she recognized daily.
They never seemed to be eating when she passed. She began to notice that they were becoming skinnier, and skinnier, and skinner…
Until one day, she couldn’t possibly not help them. Keep reading to hear about how two blind cows destined for a tragic life found a new beginning with an unlikely family.
Blind but not Broken
Fredrick and Richard are black angus cows.
They were destined for a bleak life on a beef farm in Harrisonburg, Virginia until one day a kind woman who drove past the farm frequently stopped to help them.
“She noticed two cows not eating,” explained Ted Kamprath of Butterfly Field Farm, a farm animal sanctuary located in Bedford, Virginia. “The more she drove by, the thinner she thought they had gotten.”
The woman was determined to help them.
So, she asked the farmer if she could take the two cows, later named Fredrick and Richard.
The farmer agreed – and told her that they were both blind.
The reason they’d been starving was because the other cows bullied them away from food because of their blindness.
Fredrick and Richard didn’t stand a chance on that farm. They needed a special home where they’d be loved and protected.
With only a few acres of land, and without the resources to care for two blind cows, the woman contacted Butterfly Field Farm to ask if they could provide a happy home.
Approximately 6-month-old Fredrick and 1-year-old Richard were saved!
Hope at Last
Fredrick and Richard made the approximate 2-hour journey from Harrisonburg to Bedford thanks to the help of volunteers.
The journey in the trailer was hard on Fredrick and Richard, both arriving at Butterfly Field Farm worn down and with fevers.
Ted was worried about Fredrick in particular. He was showing signs of a very serious illness called BVD.
For calves who test positive for BVD, the typical response is to euthanize them. However, farmers will often do this with blind animals as well.
Ted had already helped Frederick escape this fate once, and he wasn’t planning on giving up now.
“Like most of our animals, we got our vet here as soon as possible,” said Ted. “Luckily we got a call two days later that they both tested negative.”
Ted was extremely relieved, but Fredrick and Richard both still needed antibiotics to get them feeling better. Soon, they would be meeting their new family.
A Fresh Start
Fredrick was born blind. Richard once had vision, but after an untreated case of pink eye, is now blind.
To give them a happy home, Ted cleared all the other animals out of a pasture and dedicated it to just Fredrick and Richard. They would be able to explore the entire pasture without the fear of bumping into another animal.
“Blind animals spend a lot of time walking in circles,” said Ted.
Richard, however, proved that he is not like other animals!
“When Richard got here, he was quite the explorer right from the beginning,” said Ted. “He always amazes me. If I didn’t tell people he was blind, they wouldn’t guess it.”
Younger in age and a little more timid, it took Fredrick a little longer to feel confident in the pasture. But, slowly his circles became larger until he was exploring the entire pasture.
Confident and familiar with their new home, it was time for Fredrick and Richard to meet their new family.
While both cows were comfortable in their pasture, they needed some added protection.
This is where Suzie steps in. Suzie is a donkey that was rescued by Ted along with her foal, Gerry, from a kill pen in Asheboro, NC.
Donkey’s are surprisingly good guardian animals and Ted new Suzie would be the perfect match for the boys.
“It took the donkeys a couple weeks before they realized these cows were different,” recalled Ted.
Suzie was protective of her babies at first. She would chase the two cows away from the hay bale, requiring Ted to hand deliver hay to Fredrick and Richard.
Ted knew Suzie and Gerry were the perfect companions for Fredrick and Richard when he saw an unlikely interaction.
“I was in the pasture petting Suzie,” recalled Ted. “Richard was coming right for her, walking, and Richard bumped into her. I thought Suzie would take offence to that, but she didn’t even flinch!”
Ted knew then that these unlikely friends had bonded.
A Forever Family
Fredrick and Richard love their pasture at Butterfly Field Farm.
Their lack of sight has never seemed to slow them down. In fact, Ted is amazed daily by Fredrick and Richard’s favorite activities.
Richard, a natural born explorer, runs and jumps across the pasture.
Fredrick enjoys a more laid back, casual life in the pasture. On sunny days, he’ll often be found relaxing with his front feet in the water trough.
“The first time I saw him with his feet in the water trough, since he’s blind, I thought he stumbled in and couldn’t get out,” recalled Ted.
Ted hurried to Fredrick’s rescue, only to look back to see Fredrick was right back in the trough!
Fredrick, Richard, and the donkey’s family will soon grow. Ted plans to introduce other farm animals – including two female cows that Fredrick and Richard have spent many hours nose to nose with through the fence.
We wish Fredrick and Richard many happy years with their ever-growing unlikely family.
Thank you to Ted of Butterfly Field Farm for accepting two special needs cows, and all of the kind people who helped to make it possible.
Follow Butterfly Field Farm on Instagram to keep up with all their latest adventures!
If you’d like to make a donation toward an animal in need, head over to their website to learn how to help.
Tuesday 10th of August 2021
Hoping I can help
Friday 30th of July 2021
Wonderful story. Always enjoy reading them. Some hit me more than others. This one did. Thank you🥰😍😛😜😂
Saturday 8th of May 2021
All the animals at Butterfly Field Farm Sanctuary and really REALLY R E A L L Y fortunate! Ted and Tara have done amazing work with these two blind calves and with all the animals in their care. It's really expensive to run this kind of sanctuary and I'm sure they'd appreciate any donations if you want to help them as they save more and more lives! My husband and I believe in what these kind people are doing.