Calf Care

When a calf is born on Michael Family Farm, it is separated from its mother. Yes, this may sound “mean”, but animals are not human beings and their health is not promoted when left to themselves.First, when a cow gives birth, her milk bag swells and becomes sore to touch. Sometimes, when a newborn calf attempts to suck, the pain causes the mother to kick the calf away. The mother’s problem just gets worse, and the calf is denied its first and most important feeding.Second, cows get dirty when giving birth and the udders and teats may be covered with dirt, urine, manure or other fluids. We don’t want a new born calf drinking from a dirty udder.Third, a calf left out in the field is in danger of predators, or falling into water or getting injured by other animals. A calf can also be injured by a mother if kept in a pen together. The safest place for a calf is in a small, clean and safe pen without his mother.Fourth, we can clean and milk the mother easily and then give that milk to the calf in a clean and controlled way. We know that the calf gets full feedings, that the calf looks healthy, etc. The calves certainly don’t mind!Fifth, calves can injure their mothers by pulling, biting or ramming their udders and can introduce harmful bacteria to the udders, leading to mastitis or other infections. Calves can also drink from one udder and leave others untouched, causing problems.Thus, we believe that the best care for mothers and their calves is separation and individual care. The health of our cows and calves seems to agree.God bless,
Bill Michael

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