… a typical, essential job on any dairy farm. For my son, a chance to get dirty and “pet.”
When my son and I are at my parents' house, feeding calves entails following around Gramps, petting the four calves in the hutches, getting licked on the head by Reagan or Rolo, and getting yelled at to stay out of the mud puddle.
When we’re with Daddy, feeding calves includes trying to catch ducks, clearing the greenhouse walkway of corn stalks, attempting to pet the regular barn calves that aren’t as tame as Mommy’s show calves, and getting yelled at to stop playing in the water buckets.
But last Sunday’s afternoon feeding included a new activity – feeding grain. My husband uses a small bucket to distribute grain among the calves. Wanting to be just like Daddy, our son tried oh-so-hard to do just the same. But most of the feed was just pushed out of the tub and onto the ground instead.
Mommy’s brilliant solution – switch out his bucket for an extra milk replacer cup. At first I thought I did good, but he, of course, proved me wrong.
First, he decided to fill his cup and continually empty it into the feed bucket of the first calf in line. I sure hope that calf was hungry because she got an overflowing abundance of grain that night.
Next, my son decided to imitate Daddy and feed the big groups of heifers. Fill the cup, dump it into a large bucket, try to carry the bucket, and dump the bucket on the ground.
My favorite was when he accidentally dropped the cup into the bucket and went in head first after it. He wasn’t so thrilled, but Mommy got a chuckle.
And his final stunt for the day, eating the calf grain. At first, it looked like he only got a piece or two in his mouth and spit them out. No big deal. Life goes on.
We then proceeded to run around the farm for a while to tire him out.
Roughly half an hour after the eating incident, I go to change my son’s diaper, and low and behold there’s the cup of grain. Instead of going in his mouth, it went down his shirt. And on this particular day he happened to be wearing a onesie instead of a regular t-shirt, trapping all the feed in his diaper area. Most of it was actually cupped in the top of his diaper.
Needless to say, my son had a bit of a rash for the rest of the evening, but he sure was tired.