Calves on grass
Our three dairy calves are doing great, Osso, Bucco, and Cutlet – They are a little over a month old now, and we are weaning them off the milk replacer we had to purchase to keep them alive and healthy. At this point, we are milking our one remaining goat, May, to get a gallon of fresh goatmilk to supplement the replacer, and they are loving it! We also have them on some calf starter feed that we purchased at our local feed mill, which looks like some kind of snack mix. After some discussion, we decided it was time to get them on some grass!
We bought a few rebar posts and some insulators, and used the aluminum wire we had leftover that we had for the pig paddock, and made a small paddock, about 20 ft by 20 feet. We put pieces of aluminum tape on the wire so that the calves would be sure to see the wire. We had been training them to a simple twine halter and they have been getting the hang of walking alongside us, although if they don’t want to walk somewhere they resist like a mule! We walked them over to the new paddock and put them in it, and they didn’t really know what to make of it all.
After a while they ventured to eat a few blades of grass, and like all animals do, walked toward the boundary – which in this case was going to be a shock. The grass was not greener on the other side, but they didn’t know that yet…
After a few quick shocks to the nose and the haunches they quickly learned to stay away from that terrible wire. Then they just settled into grazing peacefully and enjoying the spring sunshine and breeze. We also got zapped a few times in a bit of absent mindedness, so we learned our own lessons!
Overall we love raising these calves and look forward to working with cows in general on the farm- they are very peaceful to have around and so far they are a lot less of a handful then pigs.