Dairy cows are the life blood of every dairy operation. Raising new healthy dairy cows is just as important to secure the future of the dairy farm. It takes a skilled person who is able to take care of young calves and to grow them into future dairy cows.
It is many times the wife on the farm who takes care of the calves. Why? Because they are so good at it. A woman knows better than anyone how to take care of young life. Some may not admit it and that’s OK, but feeling that you are responsible for taking care of this young life is a good thing.
It is always good to do something what you like to do and what you are good at. It takes dedication, patience and stamina to handle young animals like calves. Every animal knows when it is treated with love and respect, and so are calves.
A dog has the ability to show you clearly that he loves it when you treat him in this manner. The same is true for all animals. Only, they are not that obvious in showing it to us humans. The fact that women are traditionally more used to taking care of others is what makes them such great caretakers of calves.
Fortunately men realize and recognize this more often and this creates opportunities for women to start working as an employee on large dairy and also on veal farms. I have spoken many farmers and almost all of them admit that their wife is better at raising young calves then they do themselves.
What does it take to become a good calf caretaker?
First you have to learn what normal behavior is for a calf. A normal, healthy young calf is curious and is always willing to drink milk. It will stand up immediately when you approach it with feed or milk.
The other things to look for are the feed and water intake, this should constantly increase a little every day. The next thing that is important is the stools and its breathing. They should both be constant as well.
If a calf has problems with its lungs it will definitively be the first thing you will notice. The breathing will be quicker and more superficial than normal. A fever is not uncommon at this time, so checking its temperature is a good thing to do.
Check the stools every day, this way you are able to notice when there is something wrong with the digestion. This can be diarrhea (also known as scours), but it can also be something else. Abnormal stools will tell you a lot about the health status of the calf.
If you are a woman who loves to work with animals, consider to start a job as a calf caretaker. It will be a rewarding job because it is you who is the person that has turned a young dependant calf into a healthy young dairy cow. If you want to learn more on how to treat and raise healthy young calves and how to keep them healthy, check this article on Calf Treatment & Care.