Allowing But Not Accepting

Blush has been surrogate mother for Duke, the orphaned calf, for a month now. She is still not willing to agree to adopt Duke as her second calf. She ignores him while they eat grass in the pasture, or when napping in the barnyard. When he tries to nurse, she will bunt him away or just spin in circles until he gives up.Black Angus cow with two calves in pasture eating grass.

Her own calf, Maroon, is still not drinking from the back half of her udder. She produces more milk that he wants.

Twice a day, we encourage Blush to eat hay in the manger. Once she is eating, the head gate (stanchion) holds her in place. While she dines, she is willing to allow Duke to nurse. He starts with the back half of her udder and eventually sneaks to all four faucets before finishing his milk meal. She is still dancing around a bit, but she does let Duke get his fill.

Once Maroon gets hungry enough to drink from all four teats, we will remove Duke from the pen. It should be only a week or two more. This short-term adoption has worked to keep Duke from becoming a ‘bottle baby’ or ‘bucket baby.’ He is now old enough to survive and thrive with calf manna (compressed milk feed), grass seed screening pellets, and all the hay and grass he wants to eat.

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