The Name Game

Greetings from windy, rainy, 50 degree Minnesota.

Even though the weather has turned rotten, I won’t let that dampen my excitement about our new “blog calf.”

First things first. What exactly happens when a new calf is born on the farm?

I’ll start at the beginning. As soon as we see a cow starting to show signs of labor, we move her into an individual pen. Someone will check the cow every hour or so, and most cows should have their calf within about 4 hours (or up to 6 hours if it’s their first calf) as long as there are no complications.

We’ll check the cow to make sure the calf isn’t backward or positioned wrong, and in certain cases we may need to reposition the calf or even call in a veterinarian if things are beyond our capabilities.

Those problems are rare though, and luckily the mom of our calf didn’t have any trouble.

Baby was born about 10:00 a.m. and mama cow 2093 licked and cleaned her off.

Some Basic Info:

Birth Date: Sept 20, 2011
Breed: Holstein
ID Number: 3337
Height at withers (shoulder): 29.5 in.
Weight: approximately 90 pounds

Then, we dipped the calf’s navel in iodine to help clean it and prevent any infection. The mama cow went off to the milking parlor to be milked, and instead of going into the regular milk tank, her milk is diverted to a bucket so we can feed it to her calf.

This first milk is extra thick and a rich yellow color. It’s called colostrum, and it contains extra antibodies and immune-boosters the calf needs. We feed the calf instead of letting it suck from the cow so we can monitor how well and how much the calf drinks.

We move new calves to a hutch bedded with straw, and in warm weather they get a wire yard. It’s already cool enough that this baby doesn’t really need a yard. By the time she’s ready to move out of her hutch the yard could be filled with snow!

Then it’s time for feeding. We feed each baby 2 bottles (2 quarts each) for a total of one gallon of milk.


After the calf is taken care of, it’s important to document everything so we keep track of each birth.

In the computer, we’ll enter whether each cow had a heifer, bull, or twins. We’ll create a new page or “cow card” for each heifer calf. It includes details like their ID numbers, dam (mom) and sire (dad), and birthdate. This is also the spot where future events will get recorded for the calf.

Here’s our gal’s basic page.


And, here’s a look at baby’s mama. Notice they’ve both got a white heart on their face? Not all calves look so much like their mother, but this one sure does!


I also found that baby has one aunt in our herd, and she also has a sort of heart on her face. Family tradition I guess.


I’m afraid this is getting lengthy, so I’ll save some further updates for coming days.

The important question I have for you is, “what should we call her?”

I thought about naming her myself, but then I realized it would be much better to let my readers do so. Comment with your name suggestions, and I’ll pick one on Friday morning. I’ll probably just do a random selection unless there is a name that just seems to be the clear best fit.

And one more question for today. Some of you commented that it would be nice to read my full posts in google reader. I don’t use it much myself, so can you tell me what I need to do to make that work? Are my posts too long, not formatted right? Thanks for your help on this!


And here’s a few more photos of baby to help in your name selections.


About Lisa

Hi, I'm Lisa. Dairy farmer's wife and Minnesotan to the core, I write about rural farm life, running down country roads, and the food, faith, and family that bind everything together. Follow along on my journey.
This entry was posted in Baby Calf Care, Cows, Henrietta (Etta for short!) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to The Name Game

  1. Dana says:

    OMG she is adorable πŸ™‚
    I think she looks like a Mabel.

  2. She is so cute! I didn’t know that they were so big when they’re born! The only name I can think of is Bessie… but that’s not very original.

    About the Google reader thing, if you go to Settings –> Reading in WordPress, there’s an option “For each article in a feed, show…” Choose Full text.

  3. jena says:

    YAY, I love her! She is so cute!! I think we should name her Autumn-Belle ..

    When I was in 8th grade we had cows, and our Mama cow had a baby whom we named “Superstar Willy” – Superstar, because he came out hooves first, and Willy because he was born on my Uncle’s birthday who had passed away recently, his name was Bill.

    I have no idea how to fix the post thing. I get your blog in my e-mail, but it only shows a few sentences so I click over to your actual blog. I don’t mind. When people read in reader it doesn’t show on your stats..

  4. Krystal says:

    My vote is Sweetheart.

  5. Trish says:

    Henrietta or Georgianna.

  6. Pingback: Aunt Lisa’s Farm | Cow Spots and Tales

  7. Rebecca says:

    I really like the Sweetheart suggestion! So now it has two votes if that makes a difference. πŸ™‚

    I don’t mind clicking over to your blog from Google Reader, but if there is a post I want to share I’m not sure other people will click over for a blog they don’t normally read.

  8. Lisa says:

    I’m leaving a comment for the name Elsie, which came from Kathy via H&F. I’ll randomly pick a name from these comments later today. Thanks for all the suggestions!

  9. Heidi Nicole says:

    Abigayle! Or however you want to spell it, but I like the “y”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s