Out with the Big Kids


Yesterday at 9 AM it was still 10° below zero but there was no wind or blowing snow, so I thought it would be safe to let Gary Cooper, my six-week steer calf, out of the barn to play. Clear and cold is often much safer for babies than warmer but wet with a breeze.

Cooper loved the sudden freedom to run at top speed. He ran, wheeled, and ran some more.  I found myself smiling as he bucked and kicked out with happiness, galloping with his tail up. No matter how many calves I’ve raised, watching this joy never gets old.


At first the teenaged calves were intensely curious…


… but they quickly decided he was a baby and not terribly interesting.

However they let him tag along and showed him the water trough. (Notice the hose… my “frost-free” hydrant has been frozen for weeks.)


Bliss. Just one of the big boys, hanging out with the guys.



3 Responses to Out with the Big Kids

  1. I live in Michigan and am perplexed by the freezing water issue. How do you get water – large quantities of water- to stock? 5 gallon pails provide too little water and too many trips for several cows. What do you do?

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      Hi Heather. I have two “frost-free” water hydrants. One is frozen (which is not supposed to happen). The other is open and so I run a 75′ hose from the working one inside the barn to the water trough outside the barn. The water trough has a heater in it to keep it open. After filling the trough I pull the hose up the ladder to the hayloft so that it will drain until the next use. I fill the water trough every other day. It is a pain in the neck, but not nearly the pain of carrying twenty five-gallon water buckets. In the evening all the animals have water buckets in their stalls. They usually drink about half before it freezes solid.

  2. Beth says:

    Hi. I have two “frost free” hydrants also, one in, one out, and I had to wrap a mini-length of electric tape around the outside one due to the intense Vermont cold we’re having. It does the trick although it has to be plugged into the south side of the horse barn. If that’s feasible, you may want to try it. Beth

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