The Tale of Lazarus: A Bison’s Journey of Resilience and Recovery


As bison farmers, we have witnessed the beauty of nature unfold in countless ways. But nothing could have prepared us for the incredible journey we would embark on when I stumbled upon an abandoned calf in desperate need of help. I named him Lazarus, for like the biblical figure, he would rise against all odds and capture our hearts in ways we never thought possible.

A Frail Beginning:

The day I found Lazarus is etched into my memory. The bison were moving to a different pasture and already left the area. As I made my rounds, I spotted a fragile calf lying very still on the ground. Lazarus could not stand, his tiny body frail and weak. Without hesitation, I knew I had to intervene. I gathered him in my arms, I could feel his heartbeat, weak and irregular. Bison occasionally abandon their calves, but I never thought it would happen in our herd. We care deeply for bison and there was no question that we would do everything possible to give him a fighting chance.

I immediately took him to the herd, who by now were in the next pasture; with the hope he will be assimilated back into the herd. Unfortunately, the cows came to sniff at him, lifted the frail calf with their noses to help him stand, but he flopped back to the ground. It was clear he was too weak to stay with the herd and unable to stand to drink.

Nurturing Lazarus:

With the aid of our trusty team under the leadership of our veterinarian, we resuscitated Lazarus. Intravenous fluids were administered and a tube was inserted into his stomach to feed him milk. That night was very cold so we took him to our home and he slept in our mud room. The next day he was taken back to the farm and we placed him in a pen (he needed a protected space for him since coyotes are an ever present danger) and we started tube feeding him three times a day.

The first few days he was too weak to stand and any time we tried to help him, he fell forward. By day 4 he was walking and we were delighted when he started to suck on a bottle on the sixth day after he was rescued. The next few weeks were an arduous yet rewarding journey of bottle-feeding, round-the-clock care, and constant monitoring. He steadily grew stronger with proper nutrition and medical attention. Lazarus’ recovery was slow (for a bison), but his remarkable resilience and will to live were evident from the beginning.

Growing Personality:

As Lazarus grew stronger, his personality blossomed before our eyes. What was once a fragile and timid calf transformed into a curious, mischievous, and affectionate bison. His vibrant personality shone through as he eagerly explored his surroundings and started to nibble at grass. With that characteristic bison stubbornness, it became increasingly difficult to coach him into his pen at night. During the day, Lazarus frolics around in the pasture, kicking up his hooves in pure bliss, reminding us of the sheer joy life can bring.

A Deep Connection:

Caring for Lazarus formed an unexpected bond between us. Our shared journey created a profound connection that words cannot adequately describe. Lazarus is more than just an animal we rescued; he is a cherished member of our farm and a symbol of hope.

Caring for Lazarus brought its moments of triumph when he took his first steps, moments of worry, specifically when he did not want to suck on a bottle for nearly a week; was slow to gain weight and when he was reluctant to start eating grass. However he started to flourish after a month and is now just over two months old.

Witnessing Lazarus grow and thrive ignited a deep sense of pride within us. Each milestone reached was a testament to his resilience and the dedication of our team.

A Lifelong Commitment:

Lazarus’ journey confirmed our lifelong commitment to the well-being of these majestic creatures. By caring for him several times a day, he made us pause our busy lives and appreciate the natural beauty on our farm. By taking him for his 6 AM walk when the mist ascends from the grass, with the bison herd silhouetted on the hill in the next pasture; until his last walk at night when the sun set, we were reminded of how thankful we are to be involved with bison.


The story of Lazarus is a testament to the indomitable spirit of life and the transformative power of love and care. From his frail beginnings to his vibrant personality, Lazarus has left an indelible mark on our hearts. As we continue to care for him, we are planning his integration into the herd once he can sustain himself. We will share that story once it happens…..

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