Little Mucker Survives!

Here is yesterday's little mucker all dry and happy, notice the milk mustache, actually he may not be so happy, he looks like he's thinking he should have a THREE qt. bottle!

Just a little more on raising calves, we bring them home and bed 'em in little hutches for the first 3 weeks or so. By that time if they are going to get sick they usually have and we can treat them in isolation so we know just what's happening. By that time they are starting to eat some grain and are rambunctious enough to keep up with their cousins or we leave them in the hutch a little longer.

When they are ready we put them in groups of 5 in a larger pen and feed them replacer from a bucket with 5 nipples for a few more weeks before we start weaning. At 6 weeks or so they are on just one bottle for one last week, high protein feed and good grass hay. We try not to let them out on grass till they are about 3 months, if they start grazing too soon it retards the ability of the rumen to absorb nutrients, remember that back in olden wild cow days before dairies, dairymen and Ben and Jerry's, calves stayed with mom and nursed pretty well till mom said enough – certainly longer than 6 or 8 weeks.

Raising bull calves is a fine balance, obviously you want them to be happy and healthy and the longer they are on a bottle the better but milk replacer doesn't come cheap, figure $15 a week, good sweet starter grain is maybe $3 a week when they get going, plus straw and hay and vaccines and meds and miscellaneous supplies and the occasional and sometimes more than occasional failure and pretty soon it's a hobby because you aren't even breaking even.

Then you always need to figure in the cost of pilferage...