Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Raising Calves...part 2...

The new babies are now five days old, so it's time for them to be drinking their milk out of buckets!  

I started yesterday morning.  Two of them put their heads down into their buckets like pro's, and drank every drop.  This one took a little bit of persuading to tip that head down...

This morning I got this response...

This little one put her head right in today, but she's so short, that she needed a little extra help to reach the bottom of the bucket.  She'll grow quickly, so we won't be doing this for long...

We like having the calves outside in the individual hutches for a couple of reasons...

First of all, they're healthier outside.  They have better ventilation and aren't sharing their germs with a pen-mate.  We can also tell how much each individual calf is eating.  If she doesn't act hungry or stops eating, we know that she's sick.

The hutches each have their own hay/feed rack.  Now that the calves are drinking from buckets, we'll offer them water buckets, hay and calf starter...

This calf starter is a purchased feed that is a blend of great tasting (and great smelling) feed for the youngest calves.  It has molasses in could they not like it?!  We offer this to them until they're about ready to be weaned from milk completely, between seven and eight weeks old.  Then they graduate to calf grower...a step up for older calves...

These two calves are about one month old, and have been "bumped" from the individual hutches to this pen where Jenna kept her goats last summer.  They've already begun eating hay and munching a bit on their calf starter.  If it were summer time, they would have a water bowl to drink out of, but over winter we carry buckets to them instead, since the water line to the calves has been turned off to keep it from freezing...

If a young calf gets sick, this is often the time...around the time they get weaned to a bucket, so we'll be watching them carefully.  Any lethargy or scouring (diarrhea) warrants special attention, and if caught early, they usually recover quickly and completely. 


  1. They are so cute , I have always loved thier pretty little faces. Hope they are all healthy as they grow ! Lovely photos , Have a great day !

  2. I am so intrigued by your blog; I want to keep learning more about all the work it takes to keeping dairy cows. I don't want them personally, but being 1st generation born Dutch-American, Dairy farming has been in my families past :)

  3. I'm loving these posts! I hope all the little ones do well in the weeks ahead!

  4. Every year we get a bull calf from the local dairy. We bottle feed them our goat's milk. Last spring we got 2, but one succumbed to scours. We tried all the remedies but he was too far gone. He wasn't very big either when we got him. The other one, Mooocher, was a singleton and he was huge from the beginning.

    After they're weaned we bring them up the road and let them out to pasture for the summer and fall, then November....deep freeze.

    Such is life.

    Love your blog

  5. I did love that part, our dogs would get so pretty eating that calf starter stuff. Fat too.
    Yeah, that scour stuff is the worst. I love reading about your calves. It has so many good memories for me.

  6. I love that picture with them side by side drinking from their buckets.

  7. I know this is the really hard part. My sister has gone over the list of things these little guys can get. I'm sure you are part doctor, diagnosing droopy ears or runny noses. You have my admiration, I was never very good at doctoring cattle.

  8. Interesting info both for those raising calves all the way down to people who just think those little babies are super cute.


I enjoy hearing what you have to say! Thanks for your comments!