I’ve been working from home since March 13, 2020. So, this week marks 17 weeks. Wow. I figured this spring was as good of time as any to raise a few bottle calves!
In late March, two bottle calves arrived at our farm. They were either abandoned by their mom or their mom did not survive their birth. They needed attention multiple times each day and I was definitely available to help out.
The calves belong to Ryan’s uncle. I took care of them from late March until just a few weeks ago. One bull calf and one heifer.
How do I raise a bottle calf?
When the calves arrived at our farm they were already trained to drink from a bottle on a bottle holder. I just had to worry about feeding them three (and then eventually two) times per day with milk replacer mixed with water. I also had to make sure they had fresh water and slowly introduce them to dry food.
After most feedings, they would still be searching for more so it was easy to pick up dry food and let them lick it up from my hand. Same with the water, they would drink water out of my hand. After time, they began to eat and drink on their own.
After several weeks, I cut back the bottle to two per day and then just one per day. By then, they were eating and drinking plenty so I stopped bottle feeding. It was honestly a little easier to wean the calves then I thought.
After they were weaned, they were taken to another farm with some additional bottle calves that someone else had cared for. Apparently, they really enjoy being with some other calves!
The same day, another new bottle calf heifer was dropped off and I am still caring for her now.
What do I need to raise a bottle calf?
- Holding Pen
- Bottle Holder
- Milk Replacer
- Dry Food
- Water Bucket
I also gave the calves an occasional marshmallow as a treat. I tried to keep them clean, make sure to be around them plenty and pet them. I purchased a small brush and brushed them out from time to time.
It was an enjoyable experience and gave me a project to do while at home pretty much all the time now. However, I’m not sure I would want take on that much work if working at the office full time. I’ll have to think about whether I would want to do it again next year depending on the circumstances.
Have you ever raised a bottle calf? What was your experience? Comment below!