That Didn’t Last Long


We had Glory Bee in the goat pen overnight. This morning, we tied her out with a bucket of milk. (We managed to get her mouth down in the milk a couple times so she tasted it.)

Didn’t take her but an hour to break away from the rope, which was attached to her halter ring. Her halter is still on, so it’s the rope that broke away, not the halter. Obviously, we need one of those clip-on things….

The milk bucket was kicked over, but I don’t know if she drank it or just knocked it over.

I suspect she just knocked it over.

I was going to try a calf bottle on her later, but I can’t try that until I can get her back in the pen. She has access to hay and water in the yard. She also has access to two shelters, and it’s now pouring down rain, but so far she won’t come in out of it. We got some calf starter, but I only want to put that out for her in the pen, alone, because otherwise the other animals will get into it and eat it all up.

So, today’s progress is actually a step backward because at the moment, she’s running around the goat yard.



  1. CasieD says:

    I wish you were my neighbor… this would be better than watching TV!!

  2. Melinda says:

    I think Glory Bee needs a time out!!!! Wonder if there is such a thing as a “calf whisperer”?

  3. Northcountrygirl says:

    Wonder if she would drink from a pail with an attached nipple? I’ve seen farmers feed calves with these.
    If you could mount it to that tree somehow you could leave her to nurse from it without her spilling it. Just put her rope near the base of the tree so she doesn’t knock it off. Don’t know how that would work with the other animals about but something to think about. :cowsleep:

  4. Diane Gordon says:

    It’s Mommy time!

  5. m morgan says:

    When we had a diary farm the way I got calves to dring from a bucket was to let them suck my fingers as I lowered them to the milk..Worked every time, even on week old calves

  6. Gayle says:

    Once you catch her again. Try sticking a couple of fingers in her mouth(simulating a nipple)and stick her head back in the bucket. Sometimes they just need to have that nipple thing for awhile. Let her get really hungry first. It may take some time, but if she’s hungry, she’ll figure it out. She needs to “learn’ how to drink without the nipple. Patience and and hunger will help a lot.

  7. Jersey Lady says:

    Suzanne, I have been thinking-could you make a place for GB under your porch? I know you store hay there but maybe you could make a pen for her so she could be by herself and eat and drink without the other critters. Could you get some taller hog panels or particle board? Use the back wall for one side.Make it 8×8 or whatever works out with your posts.You can drive metal fence posts to hold the back ends steady. Attach the panels to the posts with zip ties or a little length of chain and a clip or in a pinch we have used layers of duct tape. If you use particle board you would need to drill a hole in it or else screw in a big eye for attaching.Stack your hay against the sides.You could put a sheet of particle board over the top at the back to make a shelter.A piece of hog panel could make a gate on the front. I wish I lived closer or else I would come and rig you up a pen like this in no time.

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Jersey Lady, the goat pen I had put her in IS under the porch. It’s sheltered. I actually just now came back inside from catching her in the pen again, so she’s shut in there again. I gave her some hay and water, and I’m going to put some calf starter in there, too. I’ll try to get her to take a calf bottle later and I’m going to give her all I milk today in a bucket, too. Maybe eventually she’ll take it one way or another………

  8. Hlhohnholz says:

    It’s almost as difficult to teach a calf to feed off of a fake nipple as it is to teach them to drink out of a bucket. Neither way is easy. Bottles & nipple buckets have the advantage of less waste, though. Ask any of your neighbors who have horses if they have a spare leadrope (ask for one with a “bull snap,” these are the most sturdy kind of snap you can get) you can have/borrow.

  9. ladychef says:

    You made me laugh this morning! Thanks. I work with children, and your post made me realize that tantrum throwing children the world over are all the same….no matter WHAT species!

  10. Jersey Lady says:

    I agree with Gayle and m morgan,don’t be fiddling around with a bottle, use your fingers to get her head down into the bucket. Use a smaller bucket so her head does not have to go so far in.If she has her calf starter, she will only need 2 qts of milk AM and PM.You are going to have to get the bucket fixed some way so it can’t dump over.You will only have to help her the first couple times. Once she’s got the idea, you are good to go.She will slurp down the milk in a couple minutes.

  11. Landodixy says:

    If you do get her to drink out of a bucket here’s a suggestion that has worked well for us with animals that knock over the bucket…set the bucket inside of an old used tire. Haven’t had a bucket turned over since we started using the tires!


  12. Jersey Lady says:

    Oh,Suzanne,I did not know you were right there. Well great! Sounds like you have things going in a good direction. Have a happy and less stressful day. 🙂

  13. summerwindfarm says:

    Bottle feeding a calf can really make them bond to you, but not always in a good way! They want to butt you to get the milk to come out of the bottle (which is killer on your arms) and later some of them still think if they butt you the milk bottle will be produced. I think Id avoid putting her on a bottle, esp at her age, if at all possible. Ive sworn never to bottle feed a calf again after the last feeder calf made my life a nightmare from the time he was weaned til he went in the was a long year and a half!

  14. summerwindfarm says:

    And for teaching her to stand tied, if that was the reason behind the rope, try using a much much shorter rope. When they are as long as the one on her looks then they can get a good run going and break it easier, as well as getting caught in it easier.

  15. Sheila Z says:

    I doubt you are going to get her to take milk from a bucket or a bottle since GB was dam raised to this point. Possible, but not easy to do. GB can live off calf manna, good hay and water at this point. Not ideal, but many dairy farmers do it this way. We always gave them milk longer than most farmers, but because we were a commercial dairy we always bottle fed (nipple feeding is better than bucket drinking because of the way a calves stomach is set up) them from the beginning. I think if I were raising a family cow I’d do it the way this farmer does it in her blog at Throwback at Trapper Creek. Her animals look really good and the logic behind how she raises her stock makes a lot of sense. Here is a link to her blog in case you are interested.

  16. Rebecca Dieffenbach says:

    Ah, this too shall pass. And that is a really annoying thing to say. I dont know what to say. I dont let the calves out until they know humans are a good thing, but then I always put them on a bottle (their moms milk) by the time they are three weeks old, for the same reason I bottle feed goats, they will always come to you. Makes them more tractable as big girls too. Dont let her back in with Mama, it will only get worse. She looks good, no reason to worry about the rain, animals are tough. Awesome pictures by the way!

  17. Michele says:

    I don’t know anything about cows sorry I can’t give you any advice. She sure is a cute calf! :happyflower:

  18. Grammie Earth says:

    Ohhh :hissyfit: GB is a handful! I’ve never dealt with cows, so I am zero help. I am sending calming, Suzanne loving, bucket drinking thoughts to GB. I hope it helps! :moo: :moo:

  19. Ramona says:

    I’m going to have to go back to the other posts, but it looks like weaning time!

  20. ulli says:

    I admit I know nothing about cows, but my heart is just breaking for her and BP.
    :moo: They want to be together–their mama and baby–they long for each other–it’s too early to separate them… :moo: “I want my mama and all will be right with the world”! :hissyfit:
    (this message brought to you by GB and BP’s know-nothing-about-cows spokesperson)

  21. Ramona Slocum says:

    Isn’t this just the most frustrating!! Animals definietly don’t have human mindsets. I live on the farm, have had sheep (my favorite), cows, pigs, turkeys,chickens, dogs, cats & ducks. I love it. Our 4 kids were in 4-H all through school. I am alone now that my husband of 50 years has passed away. I am still on the farm with only outside cats. Just can’t make myself move to town yet. I enjoy this site so very much. It hi-lights my day, reading about your day. Keep on keeping on. I love it.

  22. Heather says:

    You need to be using a cotton lead rope with a bull snap. That is the sturdiest kind. It should be about 10-12 feet long. Tie her with a safety hitch that she can’t get undone, but you could. Ask a neighbor. horses and cows get tied ‘short and high’ dogs get tied ‘long and low’. Having a rope as long as yours will break easier and also provides a place for her legs to get tangled.
    I suggest you get help in gentling her before winter. Otherwise she is going to make a much better beef cow than milker!

  23. Heather says:

    BTW- I know you thought it was sweet to let BP ‘keep’ her baby, but now maybe you have seen the value in bottle raised calves?

  24. angie says:

    I remember days like this on my grandmothers farm

  25. rileysmom says:

    Well, I get it now…..
    We have 2 cattle ranches on either side of us. Sometimes, we hear mooing/bawling all day long. It must be when the cows are separated from the calves cause it’s shipping time.
    You’re a better woman than me, Suzanne. I couldn’t do it!

  26. Michelle says:

    When we got our show calf last year, he was 6 months old and had never been touched! Talk about a pistol. We had a little rodeo, and got a halter and lead rope on him, and tied him short and high to a sturdy tree, and that’s where he stayed for 3 days. We could see him from the house and checked on him very often. He ate when we fed him and while we rubbed him all over. He didn’t like this at first, so he just didn’t get to eat until he stood. The same with the water. He went into a little pen at night, and two of us led him there to be sure he didn’t get away. By the end of the third day, he had decided we were his friends, or at least his only source of food, and would moo for us when we came outside. It was tough love, but now he is a great gentle show steer, and comes running when he sees us. Hang in there, it will get better! :moo:

  27. Zusiqu says:

    GB looks dejected in that photo. 🙁

  28. Michelle says:

    Oh demon calf! Behind those large and lovely eyes dwells one bitchy broad, which I respect on the one hand, and yet…

    Wishing you lots of luck with your spunky girl, Suzanne. Lock that baby down! 😉

  29. enjay says:

    Suzanne, wow I’m sorry that you’re having such a frustrating time. Food is a powerful training tool with animals, but right now I think GB sees her food source as being momma’s udder so she has no motivation to work with you on anything. I think right now letting her sit where she is while she gets into the groove with the calf starter is a good idea. If you really want her to drink milk, once she’s eating her calf starter you could try making a hot milk mash with her ration. A mash is kind of like grain oatmeal, and it’s sometimes useful for hiding all sorts of things the animals don’t want.
    When she starts cleaning up her food you can get back to work with halter training her and then you’ll have the all powerful tool of bribery in your arsenal.

  30. Mz E says:

    Is there a calf whisperer anywhere?!

  31. enjay says:

    Also, yes you did give her too much rope when you tied her. May I suggest, for everyone’s safety, no more than 18 or so inches between her halter and the post, tied no lower than the top of her shoulder. I actually prefer tying above their heads because I think they have a more difficult time setting back to pull, but that’s my preference. If you don’t have a proper lead with a sturdy snap I would run the rope through her halter ring and tie both ends to the post.
    I do agree with Michelle’s tough love, but again I’d wait until GB is going well on the calf starter before tying her, let her focus on one thing at a time.

  32. Barbie says:

    Advice fron dairy farmer husband, calf starter feed with sweetener (like molasses) and GB will be eating from your hand in a few days. We would dilute the milk with some water once the calves were older like GB. I fed up to 60 calves from newborn to several months old, and the kids had 4H calves and cows. :clover: They were the most gentle cows in the herd, eventually; but it was work taming them. It helped that they were bottle and bucket fed from the first. (This from a mother who nursed her kids, no bottles!) If you hold onto GB’s halter at the side of her head above her mouth, you have better control of her. Just stand with her and talk to her in a soft, soothing voice, even though you would rather use a firmer tone. If you walk her, use this same hold. I wish I lived closer, this sounds like a real challenge!! Good luck Suzanne, you can do it. :moo:

  33. Barbara W says:

    I like what one of the previous comments said. Dip fingers in milk and let GB suck on them as you lowered them to the milk. I thought I was told that to train baby goats.
    She is a gorgous calf.

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      I’ve tried repeatedly dipping my fingers in the milk. She will sniff it but that’s it. I’ve tried sticking her head in the bucket to get her to taste the milk. She tastes it but still won’t drink out of the bucket. She DOES like the calf starter, though.

  34. Whaledancer says:

    I don’t think GB is mooing; I think she’s singing “Born to be wiiiiild…”

  35. Heather says:

    Why not mix the calf starter with BPs milk if you think she still needs milk?

  36. jan~n~tn says:

    There is your weapon Suzanne, “the calf starter”. If she likes it so much….let her have to lick some from your almost closed fist. And only while you are petting/touching her with the other. Just an idea.

  37. Jane says:

    The only thing I can contribute to this discussion is the firm belief that you will have this under control one way or the other.. like everything else you set your mind to. Good luck and keep strong!

  38. Melissa says:

    Good heavens. That calf is as stubborn as my sister’s dog. If she starts sneezing at you on purpose and flapping her ears in protest, you have a giant papillon on your hands and not a cow baby at all.

  39. glenda says:

    Have I missed something here? Why don’t you want the calf to nurse anymore. Are you planning to milk twice a day?

    Just curious.

    I have my two babies under control now and have milked the last two milkings with full let down and a pint of cream from each milking.

  40. Runningtrails - Sheryl says:

    My! That GB is a handfull! She’s so sweet and cute she can get away with it!

    I have a dog like that…

  41. Angela P says:

    I thought if you chose to keep them with the mother it was for a longer period of time. Its only been two months. If you chose to bottle feed it was from the beginning, not much luck of it taking on now. Also something called “starting” you leave the calf with the mom for one milking, seperating them for the other. That way the calf still nurses and you can get your milk. Less stressful and much more healthier. Calf manna is expensive, moms milk is best. If it were me, Id put her with BP at night.

  42. Kathleen H says:

    My husband is a retired farmer. He says for the first 3 months the calf should stay with the mother. The headbutting is normal. It is telling the mother it needs more milk. Nature. On the 4th month leave the calf with the mother during the night for protection but during first milking at 5 am the calf is separated from the mother until the evening. Sores are normal, use the salve made for that.

  43. Miss Becky says:

    How can such an obstinate little thing be so dang cute??? :airkiss:
    I can’t recall my dad ever having this sort of problem with his calves. The mother and calf would be kept in a pen together, separate from the herd, for a few weeks, and then the calf would be put into a calf pen where they were bottle fed (usually by my mom). We referred to the ensuing ruckus as the momma “bellowing for her calf”. But I think the difference is that we had a herd of 50+ cows and they weren’t milked by hand. I guess that’s a huge difference, huh, now that I think about it. Oh, this too shall pass. But it sure is entertaining for me to sit on the sideline and watch it all unfold. :hug:

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