Farm Life

Calves On The Loose

This year we are doing things a bit different.  Actually a lot different!  I really needed a way to reduce my work load so I decided to leave my baby calves on their mothers.  What this means is that I will not have to bottle feed babies twice a day or worry about manure removal from calf pens.  What we have always done in the past is to take away the calves from their mothers after they are a few days old.  This is just an industry norm.  The calves were then raised in individual pens or calf hutches until they were 2-3 months old.  We did this mostly so that we could control the calves intake of milk. Also in the past, we just did not have things set up for calves on the loose. Having calves on their mothers does produce a whole new set of problems and issues to deal with but I spend a whole lot less time dealing with these issues than if I was bottle feeding babies.  The health of these calves is just unsurpassed as well.  It is a daily joy to watch these calves interact with each other and their mothers.

Here are some of the calves with a mamma cow.  She's on baby sitting duty.  Her calf is the one laying down directly in front of her.  We have the milk herd out grazing off a rye field.  

The calves are taking a break after playing king of the hill on the compost pile all morning.  All of these calves are heifers with the exception of the calf that is mostly white standing the lowest on the pile.  We are raising this guy to be next years herd sire.  If you look closely at the background you can see all the milk cows out grazing.