Camelot Cattle Company

The True Story of Olaf the Steer 

By Michelle DeLong

January 8, 2016

Olaf started off just like any other beef calf on our ranch. His mother, a registered Angus cow was bred to a registered Beefmaster bull and Olaf was born in the fall calving season of 2014. He was well over 100 pounds at birth and after getting him dry, we left him with his mother, assuming he would be just another feeder steer from our herd. However, on one of our daily checks about a week later we found him weak and cold, unable to even lift his head. His body temperature was below 70 degrees but he came around when we brought him in and warmed him back up. He seemed to be okay once his body temperature was back to normal. We prefer if calves are raised by their mother but at this point I started Olaf on a bottle so I could keep a closer eye on him. He seemed to be doing fine until a few weeks later when he was again weakening and unable to stay on his feet. The vet was called in and he diagnosed Olaf with a Selenium and Vitamin E deficiency. We immediately treated with MultiMin 90 (a multi-mineral supplement including Selenium) and Vitamins A, D, and E. Within days we had our sweet Olaf up and running again! Through nursing him back to health and raising him on a bottle, we bonded and I came to realize what a sweet nature Olaf has. I couldn't bear to think of this sweet guy ending up on someone's dinner plate and he was too large to be used as a breeding bull (he would be the opposite of calving ease). My husband only allows useful livestock to stay so I had to find Olaf a job. I decided a riding and driving steer prospect fit the ticket! My husband was in disbelief I would even ask to keep Olaf but after I begged a bit, he finally said that if my in-laws said it was ok, then I could. I never expected them to say yes but I carefully planned out my request and persuaded them. My husband was absolutely floored when they said I could keep him! He was trying to make them be the bad guy so he didn't have to say no to me so that kind of backfired on him.

Olaf at 1 month of age

 People have asked how I trained Olaf to behave the way he does or if it's just because he was bottle raised. We bottle raise around 10-15 calves per year and while they are all friendly, they are also always looking at us as a food source. Olaf was different from the start in that he wanted love and affection just as much as his bottle. So, his temperament made a great foundation to build a relationship with him which is how I would describe it...a relationship and mutual trust, rather than training. He would probably be different if he hadn't been handled all through his younger days and I did work with him on a halter as a calf but it was more love and affection in addition to his natural temperament than any amount of training. 

I have also been asked how Olaf gets along with the other livestock. Along with cattle we also have horses, goats, dogs and cats. He was raised with goat kids climbing all over him and horses nuzzling him over the fence. He responds the same way to all animals and people...he is a big, sweet, lazy pet that no one can help but love.

 Olaf will be 2 years old this fall and I am really looking forward to riding him some then. When he reached 1100 pounds, I introduced driving just a bit to start him reining and also introduced having a rider sit on him a few times but at this point, I am mostly letting him just be a pampered pasture pet (although I can't help but get him all dressed up every once in a while just for fun...he's just too darn adorable!).

Olaf is a very special and much loved steer who will remain here for life...even my husband has been unable to resist Olaf's charm.