Feeding the Calves
Today I made it to the farm in time to see the feeding of the forty calves. At birth the calves are separated from their mother, and they are taught to drink milk from a bucket not long after. Sometimes two fingers are put in the bucket of milk, and the calf sucks at them.
The fun of watching this was the introduction of the buckets to the young. Each bucket was filled with an appropriate amount of the milk mixture, then two men each held two buckets in each hand. They walked the buckets up to the fence line, then on “Go” the buckets were placed on the ground in reach of the calves. The babies were eager to eat and each had their own bucket, but if timing wasn’t right, there could have been a commotion. It didn’t take long for them to finish their milk. Afterwards, they licked each other’s mouths, “sucking face,” if you will, to get the milk leftovers.
One calf had a little gastrointestinal distress, and she had been lying in the stall alone. She was encouraged to get up and walk but would be put on cow’s milk if the problem didn’t correct itself soon. Sometimes that’s the best solution for a calf. Supplements will help, too. The care that is given to these calves, and in fact, to all the animals, takes time and patience, and people who love animals. These animals are very lucky.