Milky Way, a Jersey cow, came to live on the Grieb Ranch in February. She belongs to the O family who come out and play and work with her to get her ready for Ag Adventure Camp. She is a bottle calf, meaning at this stage of life she is fed only from a bottle.
Raising a Bottle Calf
So what does it take to raise a bottle calf? A lot of time and energy. The first weeks of life are the most crucial. She was fed a bottle of milk twice a day 6am and 6pm. The milk bottle is made with non-water-softened water (to reduce salt intake) heated to 100 degrees. Snowflake Milk Replacer (a dry milk substitute) is added to the bottle and we shake the bottle up.
To keep her warm each night, Milky Way is blanketed with the adorable pink calf blanket to reduce the loss of body heat. On the coldest February nights a heat lamp was used to warm the environment.
At a few weeks old she was introduced to some solids including good alfalfa hay, calf manna grain and she always has free choice of fresh water.
The O Family Helps Take Care of Her
Tom, Jocelyn, and Levi, members of the O family, come out to help take care of her. Milky Way loves the extra attention they give her and she especially loves when they take her on walks to get her halter broke.
She has had her first round of shots to keep her healthy and soon she will need to be de-horned.
Hopefully in 2 years she will be a milk cow, providing milk for the family. We are enjoying having Milky Way around and the O family’s frequent visits. We will keep you posted about Milky Way’s progress.