Monday, May 16, 2005

Kids and Calves

Old Elsie had a lovely heifer calf this morning. Its a big one, with some white markings on its side. The calf is sired by a Just Wait son out of the EX 95 renaissance cow from Taylors. She calved out on the pasture so Little John and I had to walk a ways to see them after breakfast. We took a pail of "rejuvenate" which is a kind of fresh cow drink I mix up full of calcium and vitamins and minerals and things to get them off to good start. We also took a calf bottle with us. I like to be sure they at least get 2 quarts of colostrum in their bellies. After they drink that they can suck as much as they want from old mom. For a "not quite 3 year old" little John is a pretty good cow milker. We took turns milking her by hand into the calf bottle. We got all done and he says, "Give me that bottle, and I'll go feed that calf." Why not! I handed it to him and he went over and set the calf around in the right position and started feeding her. I sat back and enjoyed the sight of the next generation already learning the trade. If the little feller had grown up in "day care" he might have learned how to swear or flip you the bird by this age. Perhaps he would have learned about kids with 2 mommies or memorized a stupid Barney song. But that didn't happen! Our boys spend the whole day with mom and/or dad and learn our values and our business. Someday when someone asked, "Where you raised in a barn?" my children will proudly state "I sure was!"


At 5/16/2005 11:03 AM, Blogger buie said...

I especially loved the ending and it made me ever more home sick for that type of lifestyle. I would love to have children that grew up without all that garbage.

Oh, and congrats on your new addition to your family. Send my regards to Elsie. :P

At 5/16/2005 11:41 AM, Blogger The BadgerMum said...

Please excuse an ignorant question from a city girl, but why are bottle-feeding the calf at all?

At 5/16/2005 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks, Elsie said to tell ya Moooo.


I don't always do it. Its very very important for the calf to get at least 2 quarts of colostrum within the first 8 hours or so. Thats were they get all their antibodies. Elsie is 13 years old and her udder is a little lower than it used to be(still above the hocks though) and the calf was extremly tall. I wasn't sure if or how much it had got on its own. The calf will be an important part of my breeding program and I don't want to chance anything. Making sure she gets enouph will help her live a long and productive life, just like her momma. Elsie has already out lived the average "factory farm" cow by a decade!


At 5/16/2005 4:51 PM, Blogger Matt said...

You've got us all hangin'. What's this lil' heifers' name?

Give my best to Elsie. The best part about her is that she doesn't owe you a nickel, and every drop of milk is pretty much pure profit.

At 5/16/2005 6:12 PM, Blogger The BadgerMum said...

Thanks - that makes sense.

At 5/17/2005 8:50 PM, Anonymous evermoor said...

I couldn't agree more, with having the kids around. My sister is a big day care user. They send the kids in even when there home so they can get stuff done??? Meanwhile you can probably relate to how much extra time it takes to feed calves or put the grain down with extra "helping hands". TRy going to a show or sale with the little desperados. Spend a week at Madison and you'll be soo glad to let them tear around at home. Sometimes though this scares the be-jezzers out of me. Farms are very dangerous, between chemicals in the milkhouse, skidloader, wagons, cows ect. My wife did the same thing with a fresh heifer, mind you this was a show cow that the kids slept on, and we spent labor day in the emergency room. CAT scans, X rays, hysterical wife, the whole nineyards. We came out OK, except my boy (also 3 at the time) was so scared of cows for over a year. Tonite he helped bring up a new calf( another Resurection) but was on the other side of the fence. I say this not to scare, but be extremely cautious. Our kids live and breathe the farm, I just am so worrried something could happen. Now as the oldest starts school I get to face all those influences out of my control; langauge, bullies, I want, they have why can't I, and disrespect. Children grew up so fast today it is astonishing, and are pushed harder then I ever knew. Kindergardners expected to read, count to 100,do geometry, and write(maybe I am behind?). Hows the Jude (Anna?)doing?

At 5/19/2005 7:18 AM, Blogger reformed farmer said...

Yes it was Anna. She is on the mend. Farms can be dangerous,true. What I like about Salatins book is that he reminds us it doesn't have to be as bad as we tend to make it. We are always working on making our farm more child friendly. Going to grazing has helped. No longer using fertilizer and sprays for crops helps. We are now tring to add enterprises that kids can do. The pastured chickens and others. You are right about it taking longer to do stuff when the kids help. But I have decided I don't care. The time we take now will be paid back soon enouph with the help they give us when they get bigger. If our farms make it so we don't have time to spend with our kids then we may as well move to town. As far as school, why would you send them to a government school? You should really look into homeschooling the kids. It is well worth the time and energy spent.


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