Bottle Feeding Pickles the Cow
On Thursday evening last week, our friends over at The Barn dropped off a sweet three-day-old calf on our farm. Tad immediately named her Pickles, and we were all smitten. The calf had been rejected by the mother as it was a twin when it was born. Typically the farmer would bottle feed the calf, but he knew that Tad absolutely adores cows (they're his favorite animal!) and asked if we'd like to feed her for the first one or two months of her life. She has become a part of our little farm, and we are starting to think that maybe having a little cow wouldn't be so bad... I just wish we had at least an acre of pasture for one!
Pickles is incredibly friendly. Living here for the past three summers, we often take drives out on the country roads and will stop at farms to take some photos of the livestock roaming. The cows are always very skittish and jumpy; it just gives me a picture of what animals can be like that are not treated like pets in comparison to as a tool. It's necessary when you're trying to make money, when there are too many animals to treat like another member of the family. I get that. I am already starting to feel that way slightly with the amount of ducks and chickens we have. There are too many of them for me to spend time with each chicken individually. The best thing I can do is to treat with them with respect and make sure they are well cared for; that might mean that each hen might not enjoy being cuddled and picked up. From what I see when we spend some time with Pickles, she kind of acts like a dog. She likes being pet and scratched on the chin and neck. I think if we tried, she'd even learn to cuddle and come when called, which she's already starting to do. It gives me the picture that small farming, homesteading as well, with a small amount of animals is the way to go if you care about having personal relationships with animals. It's not whether one or the other is right or wrong; it's about your own concern over their welfare.
We feed Pickled three times a day, a ration of powdered milk that she guzzles down happily. Her little grunts and half-hearted moos make my heart swell. It's precious; I'll take all of the baby animals I can get around here! We love how affectionate she is and the excitement she shows when we come to greet her throughout the day. It's just another chore to tack onto the list of what we are beginning to do here on the farm. I am happy for the routine, especially with the set back of our garden. Crossing my fingers that we can finally plant at some point this upcoming week! Pickles will be there to overlook the operation. Ha! Have you ever bottle fed a calf or kept a cow on less than 2 acres? We are thinking goats might be a better option for us!