Who doesn’t love babies? Baby animals, baby humans…if it is tiny, I’m going to squeel and need to cuddle with it. With that being said, baby calves are one of my favorite things!
Just look at this little sweetie!
This little girl’s name is Shadow. This picture was taken a few minutes after she was born. Isn’t it amazing that calves can stand up and walk almost immediately after being born?
There are a few things that we do to manage our newborns. After their arrival, they will be fed a gallon of colostrum. Colostrum is the milk that the mother cow gives after the baby is born. The mom is milked and then we feed the colostrum by hand to the baby by allowing the calf to nurse from a bag of pasteurized colostrum. If the calf is unable to nurse for an unknown reason, we will use an esophogeal tube feeder to administer the colostrum directly into the calfs’ stomach. Colostrum has a lot of extra goodies than regular milk. It has a higher fat content, more antibodies, higher levels of immunoglobulins, and the babies need the extra calories to get them going!
Here is what feeding colostrum is like:
This little girl’s name is Black Beauty. After they are fed, they are given an oral vaccine called BarGuard. They get a shot of Multimin (vitamins) and they get their naval dipped with an iodine solution. We will clean out a stall for them and give them fresh bedding for their new home.
During their first week of life they will drink 2 quarts of milk twice daily. When they reach 1 week of age, they will receive 3 quarts of milk twice daily. When the temperature drops below 30 degrees constantly, we will give them 4 quarts of milk per feeding after a week of age. All of our heifers receive an intranasal vaccine called Inforce at one week of age which helps build immunity to different respiratory diseases.
There you have it! That is how we take care of our precious babies on the farm.