You know you might be a farm girl when…
Turkey basters are not used solely for basting turkeys. Every once and again on the farm, we use a turkey baster for something aside from basting turkeys. We raise a bottle calf or two per year and we’ve had a few times where the calf was too weak to suck from a bottle. It can get very interesting.
When you get a calf, if it is your first, I’d recommend finding a mentor before you buy a calf. They can help you find a good calf, and not get ripped off buying it. They also will be able to help with the different illnesses that calves can come down with. I’d also recommend the book “Raising a Calf for Beef” by Phyllis Hobson. It has helped my family out of many situations when we were not able to get in touch with either a vet or our mentor.
We’ve used the turkey baster with a calf that we bought several years ago. He was extremely weak. His mother was a senior cow who developed mastitis and the vet told the owner that the calf’s best chance for survival was being bottle fed. He opted to sell the calf to us and Ribeye as we named him, had to be fed for a short while using a turkey baster. We literally babied that calf and he ended up becoming one of the nicest calves we’ve ever raised. The only calf that comes that close is the calf that we currently have, Ribeye.
It can make it a little tough to drop them off to be butchered. We just have to keep in mind from the get go, that the calf is being raised for food. You treat them well, take good care of them, and when it comes time to butcher, do your best to see that they don’t suffer when they are butchered. We’ve found that a home raised steer that was bottle raised and raised on grass with maybe just a touch of grain given, makes the absolute best meat.