Calf Feeding

Every kid needs a few chores to do in the summer time, maybe all the time. Some days their chores have to change so we can work together as a family to get everything done.
Baby calves!  Little Dairy on the Prairie
See on our farm we have about 150 mouths to feed, under 3 months, to feed twice a day. These little babies are fed milk in a bottle. They drink water from a bucket which has to be dumped and refilled so every baby has clean, fresh and cool water to drink. They are also given grain to eat. All of this baby calf feeding is actually a full time job for one of our employees! By the way, we have the greatest employees!
Baby calf feeding
The regular calf feeder and the relief calf feeder happened to take this particular day off.  Guess who gets to fill in when that happens? Yup, my boys! They also fill in when the relief calf feeder forgets that he is working that day. 
 Calf Feeding Wagon!
All the baby bottles are hold 2 quarts of warm milk. The bottles are loaded onto this trailer then pulled to the calf houses.  
Come on baby! Have a little drink!
Each calf gets a bottle. Brand new babies need a little bit of help getting used to drinking their milk. Today the biggest boy got in the calf house and coaxed the calf to the front of his house. The littlest boy tried to get the baby to drink. 
All done drinking! 
Once the calf figures out he can get milk from the bottle, he is all over it. The next time he knows exactly what to do. They even stand up and come to the front of their house when they hear the bottle wagon coming. These little calves are so smart!
 Bottle Holder
Once the calves get used to drinking from the bottle, which happens very quickly, we use holders. The bottles are placed in these holders so the calves can drink their milk. (Please admit with me there were times when your babies were little you wished you had a bottle holder similar to this!)
Gathering the calf bottles
After the calves bottles are gone the boys drive the bottle cart along the front of the calf houses and pick the bottles up. 
Boys bottles
Don’t feel too bad for my boys. They like this job because the oldest loves animals and the youngest loves driving the four wheeler. Besides their is even a place on this bottle wagon for the guys drinks!
If you are looking for something to do to keep your kids busy this summer, go buy 150 baby calves. Put them in your back yard. Let the kids feed calves twice a day! Trust me, it will keep them busy and out of trouble!
Amy Engberson About Amy Engberson

I live on a dairy with my husband and three boys. Although we are in the business of raising cattle, we really are in the business of raising boys. I am passionate about catching up with each other at meal times. My love language is food. And I hope that my men feel the love in every bite.


  1. Elaine Duckett says:

    Yup, all little boys need chores to do, winter, summer spring or fall.

    I pretty sure if you had a little girl, she would be right out there with her three brothers teaching them a thing or two about baby bottles.

  2. Katie Smith says:

    I have been raising hundreds of calves for a long time and I have a few points that I would like to make. The biggest problem one faces when raising baby calves is scours. When I first started out when I had a calf that was scouring I did as the vet said and held back the milk and only gave the calf electrolytes as well as various scours medicine. In most cases the scours stopped, but the calf died of malnourishment. Calves are born with a limited energy supply. By depriving them of milk replacer they are at a huge nutritional disadvantage. I searched and found an all natural nutritional supplent, Recover, that would combat calf scours. I talked with the owner who assured me it has been successful used on hundreds of calves. The big surprise came when he told me I could drench the calf with it and also add it to their milk replacer. I was shocked to say the least!! I was always told that this was a no no!!! To make a long story short, I did use it and it worked as he said. Now, the first thing that I do when I receive new calves is to drench them with Recover and add it to their milk replacer. This has been a lifesaver for me. I found the product at

    • Raising calves is a tricky business. Everything can be going great one minute and the next minute you are wondering what’s going wrong. We do use Recover on some of our calves. We also have a few other practices that seem to ensure the calves stay healthy. Good luck with your babies!

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