Bottle Calves (or Bucket Calves)

I got to thinking today, I’m mighty upset. See usually by this time in calving I have a bottle calf or two. I have none. Feeding bottle calves is one of the major jobs of ranch wifein’. I enjoy being the lifeline to a little calf. I enjoy frolicking with them (calves love to run and buck when they feel good and will run with you to play).

My parents keep telling me they had bucket calves. The difference between the two is obvious:



I thought I would at least have one bottle calf to blog about this year but I haven’t yet. So instead I’m going to share some memories from past bottle calves.

There was Johnny and June, a pair that my husband and I would feed together and have competitions to see who would finish first.

There was Mini Moo, a tiny calf that was too short to reach the udder. We gave her away when we sold a trailer, we just put her in the back.

There was Flaviana, who won the Cadbury Bunny Contest (ranch edition).

One Eyed Jill was originally One Eyed Jack, until we realized he was a she. It was a twin. The other twin was normal, but ol’ Jill had a problem with an eye (there really wasn’t an eye, it just looked fleshy). The vet stitched her eye shut. Jill never looked quite right, the one eye, and then she had one ear that would stick straight up while the other pointed out…always. I was telling a friend of mine about her and how a lot of times one of the twins just isn’t quite right, forgetting he himself was a twin (haha). She got a cow to raise her eventually and being as ugly as she was, no one would buy her. We raised her as grassfed and doubted how good the meat would be. I have to say we’re pretty proud of her now, he steaks are actually really good!

Big Red was a large calf that was born with contracted tendons in his legs and the Aussie and I helped him stretch his legs and learn to walk. It took a few days but we were so proud when he took his first steps.

Earl was my calf at the end of last year. Usually my father in law gives me any bottle calf that is left over at the end of the year to sell. Two weeks prior to when I got him I could had sold him for $400. But when I got him the market was more like $100. So I took him home with me and halter broke him. I had big plans for Earl. I was going to break him to ride and teach him to barrel race. I’d have the only barrel racing steer around. But then we found a cow for him at around 4 months old. This is where I learned that as much love as you show a calf, he doesn’t care. About 36 hours after he had a cow, he wouldn’t come near me.

There was Killer. Killer’s first mom went to market because her udders where too large for a calf to nurse. His second mom was a heifer who died a couple days after giving birth. It was at that point that I named him Killer. I thought if I named him Lucky, like the average three legged dog you see in town, cows would keep dying. Killer worked, the next cow raised him with success.

I’ll never forget Odgoo, Botok, and Boog. Named after a weeping camel documentary. Odgoo was the recipient of CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. That is an entire different story that I will share in the future.

There has been more than that, but those are the most memorable. So as an Ode to my bottle calves, I have made a little 58 second video. Enjoy!


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