Welcome to the second week of our 24th annual Bucket Calf Project! This week, the kids learned about our farm's calf hutches that their calves live in. These large structures work as great mini-barns for the first two months of a calf's life before they transition to being on pasture.
Each new baby receives a clean hutch, with milk, hay, and water daily. With the helpful eye of the calf crew, and protection against illnesses from each other, newborn calves will thrive in their first few months of life. The use of hutches provides a safe and secure home for the newborns. They will perform better, have more resistance to disease, and can more easily be observed and treated for sickness.
Individual housing allows dairy farmers to know exactly what is going in and coming out of each calf. This helps monitor their development as well as identify illness. The most common signs that a calf isn’t feeling well are loose manure, called “scours”, or lack of appetite. Individual housing allows farmers to know quickly and certainly which calf is scouring or not eating. The calf crew can then give that calf the extra attention and treatment that they need.
Above is some of the calf crew who work hard to make sure the calves are well taken care of. After a calf has spent its time in the hutch, he or she is transferred to the transition barn to live with other young calves so they can become familiar with living in a herd.
Next week we will learn about the birthing process and get more information about the calves first few hours of life. Until then, enjoy delicious milk, cheese, yogurt, and ICE CREAM made from healthy cows. See you next week!
P.S. I heard Vanessa say that there are about eight calves born every day. Fingers crossed we get to see a birth!