Mistletoe is a purebred Kerry heifer calf.
She was born 2 days before Christmas and was orphaned at birth. Her mother was one of my older Kerry cows and died from a prolapsed uterus just a few hours after she was born.
Like most Kerry calves, Mistletoe is very healthy and very vocal. I’ve noticed that Kerry calves seem to have a strong will to live. They remind me of naughty little Irish elves.
Mistletoe was weaned from a bottle to a bucket about 14 days ago.
But due to the bitter cold weather and a change from raw cow’s milk to bagged milk replacer, she has refused to drink from a bucket. Can’t say that I blame her – milk replacer is just plain nasty.
Normally, I would not have caved in and given the bottle back to her. I don’t cater to bratty baby bovines.
Instead I think a better approach would have been to stomach tube her for a few days until she changed her mind about the bagged milk replacer and the bucket.
But she’s got the luck of the Irish in her favor and I don’t.
When she refused to eat I went looking for the oral calf feeder but couldn’t find it in the vet supplies that I keep in the basement. Believe me, I certainly wasn’t about to go to the farm store in a snow storm to buy one for her.
I think she knew she had me beat from the beginning. Because it was back to the bottle in no time at all.
With the harsh weather I wasn’t willing to take a chance that she would go down or die. What’s more, I think she knows my husband loves to feed bottle calves and was more than happy to make her a “Daddy’s Girl“.
It’s better to go backwards for a little while with baby animals than to risk losing them.
You can be sure that the next time I’m at the farm store I’m buying an oral calf feeder. It’s good insurance against hypothermia.
Or for stubborn little ones who don’t want to eat the food given to them.