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How Not To Feed a Baby Cow

Updated on May 14, 2012

We Visit the Farm

Many years ago, my friend Janice and her husband ran a dairy operation in the middle of Pennsylvania. One spring, on the way to Winona, Minnesota, my ex and I stopped to visit them. It was calving time, and the first calf arrived the day before we did. After Janice served up a big-farm welcome dinner that evening, I followed her out to the barn to help with the evening chores.

I Reach Out To Make a New Friend

In a small stall padded in sweet hay lay a calf, all 60 pounds of him. Janice and I entered the stall, closing the gate behind us. The calf flicked his ears, looked up at us, but didn't seem too interested. I reached out to him, stroked his head and back, and let him nuzzle my hand. He and I were communicating just fine. Janice asked if I'd like to feed him. "Sure," I said. He was cute.

Janice left me in the stall with him, closing the gate behind her. I studied his perfection. Smooth coat, soft nose, deep brown eyes, limbs deceptively delicate-looking as he stood up, continuing to nuzzle my hand. A few minutes later Janice returned carrying a translucent plastic bottle topped with a huge black nipple, full of fresh, warm, cow's milk. It was so heavy she had to hold it with both hands, extending it to me over the top of the gate.

"What do I do now?" I asked, turning away from the calf and reaching for the milk.

"Nature takes care of itself," she said.

Cute Turns Not-so-cute

And nature did. Before I could get a good grip on the bottle, the calf charged me, stuck his nose between my knees and yanked his head straight up, hard. (Ladies and gentlemen, you may be able to identify with my sensation at that moment, if you remember falling a certain way while learning to ride a bicycle.) The milk bottle flew to the rear of the stall, I fell backwards over the calf and onto my butt, and damn if the calf wasn't still all over me looking for that milk.

Going Home

About a week later, on the way back from Winona, my ex and I returned to Janice's farm. Janice asked us to pull our truck up to the back door. She said she had something for us to take home. We pulled up the truck as she and her husband went back into the house. They returned a few minutes later and loaded the back of our truck with two huge coolers filled with 30 pounds of fresh-packed, milk-fed veal.

We said our thanks and good-byes and rolled on down the drive.

And just in case you are, we didn't ask. We didn't want to know.

Another Proper Way To Feed a Baby Cow

A Delightful Journey into Cow Facts and Trivia

Hubber drbj complements this telling of a baby cow adventure with cow facts and trivia which are funny, intriguing, and, well, horrifying too. Read the Hub Cow Facts and Cow Trivia to get a broader view into the lives of cows and how they impact us in ways we we never thought about before.


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    • jamterrell profile image


      7 years ago

      Great hub,

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      He-he-he, catchy rhyme. Though t'wasn't funny at the time!

      And thank YOU for the link. I think we new BFFs have put smiles on a few faces. :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      Sorry, my Sherri, you had such strife,

      That cute lil cow could have maimed you for life.

      Thank you for the link and the kind words. Would you like to be my new BFF?

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Yes, Dolores, they can be tough. You said it so well. Now let's think about our toddlers! LOL!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Sally, I guess we all have a silly picture of cute little baby animals, never thinking that they can be tough little customers. Great story.

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Angelina, thanks so much for your comment. It is always satisfying to hear good words from an expert. And that's good advice for men, eh? LOL.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Ha this story was great, and soooo true! I just bought 4 baby cows a couple of days ago. They are very cute till feeding time. I've learned though, while feeding, make sure to clench your butt tight and it wont hurt as bad. And out for your fronts. My husbands already been on the groud several times because he wasent blocking. (Good times, good times!)

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Peg, I'm so glad you enjoyed the story. It gives me no end of pleasure to know that I helped someone let out a good laugh. So healthy!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This was hilarious! I could see it happening as I read along. What a great storyteller you are. Very very funny, and thanks, I needed that. It was a hoot.

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Z, glad the video was helpful. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

    • profile image

      9 years ago

      I think the video was helpful for me to know how to feed a calve

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      funnebone, thank you for making my's rewarding to know that something I wrote will keep you (or at least a part of you) safe in the vicinity of an alpaca.

    • funnebone profile image


      10 years ago from Philadelphia Pa

      I am glad i read this...I was about to go feed the neighbors alpaca ...i have to go wash the peanut butter off my..well..thanks for the post

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Thanks, Eileen. It never hurts to have too much sympathy, and I'm so glad you offered yours!

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Ouch I felt for you as I read that. I loved that story it was more the great way you spun it I think.

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Amy, so glad you got a yuk out of this. I had a friend a long time ago who, when I told something I thought was funny, said, "Keep your day job."


    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 

      10 years ago from Connecticut

      Oh my, so funny! Thanks for the laugh! :)

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Lacy, they are just like that, aren't they? Full of cute stuff, mischief, and deadly presence. Thanks so much for your comment.

    • lacyleathers profile image


      10 years ago from US

      HaaaHaaaHaaa.... OMG...too funny...I actually grew up on a cattle ranch and I can sooo identify with your story! You have described the 'calf experience' in exquisite form! Wonderful!

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Sounds like a new hub in the making monitor. Especially if there's a "revenge" ending. But I'm guessing the angel fish were protected (?) whereas, the baby cow was not.

      Thanks for the nice comment!

    • monitor profile image


      10 years ago from The world.

      THis is a hoot. I don't have a cow story but this reminds me. I was scube diving with my friend and the guide had given us some bait to do some fish feeding. Loads of "oh so cute" angel fish clustered around in front of us waiting for food. My wife took some bait and held out her hand and in they came! Aggressive as anything. In shock my mate's reflex action was to pull her hand back above her head! That works on land with dogs maybe but not in the water! Help! Swarming fish around the head!

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      LOL Donna...sometimes it's not a good idea to ask. TY so much for your good words.

    • donnaleemason profile image


      10 years ago from North Dakota, USA

      That was so funny, loved the way you described it, almost like being there. I wouldn't have asked either.


    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Whitney and cgull, thanks so much for the nice words!

    • cgull8m profile image


      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Very funny story :), my granddad used to have a small cow farm, hope to have them sometimes in the future.

    • Whitney05 profile image


      10 years ago from Georgia

      Wow... Cute and funny story.. Until the veal part... I don't eat meat, so... Yea.. Ha... Personal reasons and that's all I'm saying. ;-)

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I love your hubs! I hope we'll be stopping by each others' places often. Warm regards, S.

    • moonlake profile image


      10 years ago from America

      Enjoyed your hub. Thanks for stopping by mine.

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I'm so glad the ending surprised you jooles.

      Yes, that would have been too cruel, not for the calf, but for me! Once we left the farm for Winona, I never wanted to see ANY calf again! Thanks for the good words.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I could just see it all happening as your explained it Sally. At the end I though you were going to say that they were bringing out the live calf so that you could take it with you. That would have been too cruel though wouldn't it lol. I enjoyed the hub thanks.

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      In The Doghouse, OMG! A new bad-dream name. Nightcows!

      Rhym, I think I'm going to be living vicariously through some of yours, too! You are so welcome.

    • Rhym O'Reison profile image

      Rhym O'Reison 

      10 years ago from Crowley, Tx

      I wish I had a good cow story, but since I don't, I will have to live vicariously through yours. Enjoyed it. Thank you.

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 

      10 years ago from California

      I guess that would be enough to make you afraid of cows forever!! Maybe even have a few cow nightmares?

    • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      annemaeve, I actually agree with you. The only cows I like these days are those happy California cheese girls. Woo-hoo!

      G-ma, I'm glad you got a laugh out of this story. I am still amazed at how harmless-looking those little monsters are. I'm sure that if I had a lot of timber between me and that baby cow, I wouldn't feel the way I do today. Happy Easter to you too!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Very funny...OUCH..AM SORRY FOR THAT BECAUSE THOSE BABIES ARE SOOO SWEET...I think maybe your friend didn't prepare you properly..or you were to small...they can be very strong...I just love how the mom's babysit the other babies....and they even take turns. Seeing them run and jump and they are so clean and white and adorable. How can we eat them? G-Ma :o) hugs HAPPY EASTER MY DEAR

    • annemaeve profile image


      10 years ago from Philly Burbs

      No matter how many times I re-read this story, I still love it. And I still hate cows. Burgers for everybody!


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