We now have bottle calves. How on earth this happened I’m still scratching my head to figure out… but… Let me paint you a picture…
Last night just after normal chore time, I got a text message from both my parents saying my dad needed help and how fast could I get there. Real fast. Abug and I threw our shoes on and out the door we went. Good thing we just live down the road. She was in play clothes so she went into my parent’s house with my mom (too cold for how she was dressed) and I went out to see what was going on. I had been there about an hour before and a cow was laying funny on the hillside. Turns out, momma was pregnant and trying to calve.
She got the calf out all right, especially for a first-time momma, but then she ran off. The baby needed a little assistance. So dad and I grabbed some towels and off to the field we went to try and dry the baby off. It wasn’t cold out, but it was cool and just coming out of mommy, the calf was cold. Momma cow wouldn’t come near. I think part of it was because we were there but she was a first-time momma and sometimes they don’t have those instincts they’re supposed to.
Dad and I decided to go ahead and get some powdered colostrum into the baby so it had something warm in its tummy. A lot of times that helps them go ahead and get up. But this poor baby seemed like it had some underlying problems we were unaware of. We put the baby on the bed of the pickup and dad rode back there while I drove her up to the small corral area. Unlike the baby earlier this spring, this one was talking up a storm to momma. And momma kind of followed. The baby actually caught the attention of the older cow that was out in this pasture with momma. The older cow brought momma up to her baby.
In the end, we wound up losing another baby calf. Dang it. And yes, we have live calves on the ground that are thriving! Just to clarify.
The bottle Calves
So how do the bottle calves come into play? So sometimes if you have an orphan calf and a momma who just lost her calf, you can marry the two up together. A lot of times momma will take on baby and Bam, no bottle calf. Not the case here, but still… it is possible.
The next day, dad found some bottle calves on Craig’s list. The calves were dairy calves. Dairy calves have to be taken off their mommas and bottle-fed. If you don’t, the calves could hurt the udders of the dairy cattle and then you don’t get milk, long story short. Dad asked if we’d want to go with him to look at some potential bottle calves. Now… there is a huge long story here about bottle calves and me…
They (as in my parents and hubby) have been trying to get me to commit to feeding bottle calves. Anywhere from 1-20 has been the number. I don’t like bottle animals. They are a lot of work. So when dad mentioned getting one to try and orphan off onto this momma cow, I agreed to go look with him. Let’s just say we wound up bringing 2 calves home with us. One to orphan off and a bottle calf. Dang it. And the sad thing… I picked out the second calf. SMH.
That weekend was a Tbug weekend. She got there just as we got home with the 2 calves. I told her to run into the house and change clothes real quick and then we headed off to play with cows at my parents. The calf that was orphaned off they named Clarabell. The other, the actual bottle calf got named Stella.
Jump forward to the next day…
dun dun dun…
So now we have a calf all in a pen by itself, bored. Well, that wasn’t nice of us. So we contacted the guys who had the calves for sale and went to pick out at least one more. At this point we have a bottle calf… and 2 bottle calves are just as easy as 1. Or in our case… 3 are just as easy as 1.
Yup, hubby and Tbug went and picked out their own calves. Now we have 3 bottle calves. The other 2 were named Molli and Chloe.
And that is how we wound up with bottle calves. Because, why not. We’re stuck at home anyway, might as well have calves to feed/play with. And now Stella has a friend or two.
p.s. If you want an explanation on the Milk Dumping/Shortage… check out this post.