Sunday, August 5, 2012

We bought a cow!

Our neighbor has been leasing barn space to a guy who buys day old calves, bottle feeds them, and then sells them or takes them out to his acreage a few miles away.  After a few weeks of watching all the cute calves, and even being able to feed some of them, we made a crazy decision.

We'd buy one. He'd gotten some beef shorthorns in, and they are supposed to be great for meat.

We'd raise it up for 14 months or so, and then hire a butcher to come process him for us.

However, we would never be able to store an entire cow, so we started asking around to see who wanted to split it with us.  We had so many volunteers that we ended up buying TWO.

T-Bone/Chuck laying in the grass
When we talked to KC, the seller, we had two options: we could buy a (mostly) weaned calf of about 8-9 weeks old for $450, or we could buy a 6 week old for $350. We thought it was worth the extra money to buy the weaned calves.  However, when we tried to commit to that, KC didn't have any left.  The next day, one of his buyers backed out, so we bought one weaned, one not weaned.

I went to the feed store and bought a bottle and calf milk replacer and a bale of alfalfa (J was THRILLED when he realized I'd taken the civic for this errand. Really. I have a giant SUV AND a pickup truck, and I end up in the car for that errant?).

We've set up a dog kennel in the back field because all of the calves will mob you if they see the bottle. We get the calf into the kennel and feed him in relative peace there.

The bigger calf only needs one bottle a night, and tonight is his last bottle.  The younger calf needs two bottles a day. Each bottle is two quarts of this milk replacer (which bears a rather disturbing resemblence in smell and texture to my protein shake.  ugh)

The older calf, Casanova, has a heart on his right flank, and another on his forehead.

The younger one is mostly brown, with a little white on his forehead.

Both are very sweet, very friendly, and I really hope they aren't quite as wonderful by the time they're grown or I'm going to have a really tough time when it comes time to process them.

This is a picture I took of the younger one (name not totally decided, but T-Bone and Chuck are front runners) this morning while I was feeding him.

As a fun side note, we took this video a couple weeks ago in the field. J was trying to secure the netting on top of our new chicken enclosure, but the calves were making it impossible. So, he had us come out and distract them. S did a fantastic job, and I caught it on video. We'd wanted to buy the calf chasing her, but we were too slow to commit, and he was sold before we could buy him.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

I love the heart on it's flank. It looks like you cut it out and stuck it on because it is so perfectly shaped! They are adorable calfs!