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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sleight of Hand

Here is something I have often wanted to capture on film over the past few years. Finally I actually had my camera in my pocket and managed to snap this a shot a few days ago.

When it is so hot during the summer months we often put our bottle calves in the bigger pen with the weaners (ummm...those are the calves who've been weaned off of the bottle). But in this enclosure there are no bottle holders for them, so you (meaning *I*) have to hold the bottles. Feeding one at a time is a joke because it'd take forever and you'd have to beat the others off with a stick. So your best bet is to feed them all at once; then it's over with. However this requires a special talent.

Three calves, three bottles, two hands and one camera=dairy sleight of hand.

In a still shot like this it would seem easy, but actually these little buggers are in constant motion; pulling on the bottle or "punching" at it with their noses, so you are constantly trying to juggle them to keep them steady. I prop the bottles on the fence, brace two against my hip and hold them steady with my right hand and then hold on to the other with my left hand.

Generally it works OK. But notice the middle calf, she likes to jerk on the nipple and get milk all over herself. She actually had it flipped all over her back and the back of the calf next to her. And a day or so ago she flipped it up into my face; up my nose and in my mouth. I'll be glad to wean her!

Then of course there's always an opportunist, whose forehead you can see at the bottom left corner of the pic; she wants to see if she can butt another calf off the bottle and get a slurp for herself; even though she's been weaned for a month.

Sometimes it's a rodeo trying to feed them.


Taylor said...

Wow! You are talented!
We lead different lives, you and I! :)

Anonymous said...

Quite the part of having lived, feeding calves. You've got the Quality Check, a sweetheart, and what the heck? India? in those markings. Love your pictures.

Calfkeeper said...

Taylor, thank you. haha, yes we DO lead very different lives, don't we?

Anony-it's fun to feed the calves, but sometimes they are annoying! Yes, their markings are fun to try and interpret.