Letting nature take its course
Having a farm means making difficult decisions. We’ve always said that our cows had to do well on their own–giving birth, raising babies, and feeding. Even though it’s a small farm, we have enough horses, cattle, and dogs around that we can’t really have any special projects. So the rule was, if the animal doesn’t hold their own, we let nature take its course. Including no bottle baby calves.
Then again, rules are meant to be broken.
The bottle baby arrives
This occurred to us when a big, beautiful Angus boy joined our farm last week. From the moment he was born, mom just couldn’t be bothered. He was raising a fuss, and we hoped she’d feed him before the day was out. Instead, he bawled all night and kept everyone up worrying. Aft first, we just observed and hoped for about twenty-four hours.
Although he was strong and persistent, mom just did not warm up or seem to “get” her job as mama. Julia caught the mom and milked her to be sure the calf got the first milk with colostrum which has nourishment that is critical to build their immunity. The calf is a beautiful, big bull and it’s a good thing he’s so strong!
So, yes, we now have a bottle baby. Sometimes your ideas aren’t the same as how things turn out.
Caring for a bottle baby
Mixing up his formula, we fed him every twelve hours for a few days while he continued to pester his mom. As luck would have it, he started advancing on another “good’ mama, number 918, and she finally consented to nurse him along with one of her own. Since this gives her more work, we upped her nutrition. Now all three of them are doing fine.
It is a relief to see a potentially bad situation go well. We still peek in to see how he’s doing, but now that he has a mom, he doesn’t give us the time of day. I guess nature takes its course after all.