There Be Calves Here
The dairy farmer finally called. He had four male calves we could buy, between the ages of one day old to seven days old. These guys are babies. The farmer suggested we keep them in individual pens for while. This wasn’t what I had in mind. I pictured the little guys romping through the pasture, chasing each other in the sunshine, not locked in individual pens in the barn.
The farmer explained that the sucking instinct in calves is strong, VERY strong, and since they only get fed a bottle 2-3 times a day, they will look for something else to suck, and this, unfortunately, ends up to be each other.
They suck each other? I didn’t get it. Their ears? Their tails? Their…. oh…got it.
We spent yesterday afternoon building individual pens.
We put the panels on the pickup truck and Melissa drove 10 miles to pick them up. Each little guy was carried into his own personal pen.
We’ve been feeding bottle lambs for years; the process is the same for calves, it’s just the scale that’s different. A newborn lamb might eat most of a bottle in one day; A newborn calf is going to eat three of the gigantic bottles (with gigantic nipples) on the left.
Not only do the large bottles, which hold half a gallon, take both hands, but you need both hands to hang on. There is some serious draw on that bottle.
Meet the boys:
“Hi, I’m Number1. I know I look innocent, but believe you me, I wasn’t born yesterday…. Oh, wait, yes I was. I was born yesterday!”
“I’m Number 4, and unlike those other three, who look like deer because they’re Jerseys, I’m a Jersey/Holstein cross. I’m 7 days old, and butt against the bottle for all I’m worth. Sometimes the women holding the bottle curse and moan about how much it hurts to have the bottle butted into their stomachs. Tough cookies.”
And finally, back at the house is a 5-month old puppy, who thinks she’s old news now because of the calves.