Saturday, Dec. 3, I arrived at work like normal and began to follow my usual routine. I had noticed a few new things on the farm. The 13 oldest calves that were in the barn had been moved off bottles and up to the upper barn. It left the second half of the barn open for new babies to fill the stalls. I walked up row to check for newborns, and I saw behind a bail of straw there was a little nose sticking up in the air. I quickly walked over thinking that calf had gotten loose but when I looked behind I noticed there was two calves! I stepped back and realized it was a makeshift pen to hold the babies. I looked into the enclosures behind the babies and saw there were six more babies and two were brand new! Never had I experience so many babies at once. When there are several new babies there are a few things that need happen to ensure that every calf stays healthy.
The first step is to be sure that all new calves get the oral vaccine. The vaccine helps prevent illness that can occur weeks after being born. The second step is to be sure that each baby gets the proper meal. The newest ones need colostrum twice within the first 24 hours. Colostrum is a mix of minerals and important vitamins that are crucial to a calf in the first 24 hours of their life. Typically it is mixed and put in a bottle that myself or someone else gives the calf. Another way for them to get colostrum is directly from their mother. In the instance with all these calves, a few babies were left with their mothers to ensure that all of them got the proper amount of food. After they all got at least two bottles of colostrum then they have to get milk. The third and final step is to watch each calf closely, because if calves stay near each other for too long then they can start the get one another sick which could cause a lot of issues.
To my shock on Dec. 25 there were almost double the amount of babies than on Dec. 13. There were over 15 new babies who all needed to be cared for equally. We were very lucky that every baby born on Christmas Eve and Christmas came out healthy and all very strong eaters. That made things a lot easier for everyone.
I can safely say I have the best job out of an high school student I know. Working on a farm has not only taught me skills on how to care for animals but also how to be patient and know that everything will be okay in the end as long as I don’t rush.