It was a long winter. The temperatures were up and down, one day in the negative 30s, the next day in the positive 40s. Spring has been cold and wet, and there has been uncertainty as to whether it’s even here at all. Beasts and humans alike are ready for warmer weather.
Every so often, the sun does peek around a cloud and warms the face. While waiting for that moment, the heart is warmed by new calves galloping through the pasture, playing chase as a kindergarten class.
We have 17 calves on the ground right now; 16 are out in the pasture, and one is in the barn lot because she lost her mum. She has been a bottle calf for the last month. We call her Calfie (imaginative, I know).
On the first day she arrived at the barn, I held her so that she would become accustomed to the process of eating from a bottle. One of my former students, who was visiting the farm that day, gave the calf her milk. It took a week to train the calf to drink from the bottle.
After that, we were able to let her in with the neighboring year-old calves in the barn lot. Now, during chores, she gallops across the field to whoever holds the milk bottle for her breakfast or supper.
She is up to eating two bottles worth (four quarts) of milk per feeding.
Sometimes, we’ll use a bucket rather than the bottles.
While we don’t have a specific plan for where Calfie will live long term, she may stay with the older calves until her own kindergarten class is ready to be weaned and brought to the barn lot.