Jersey heifer calf

My house is becoming a menagerie…

So this happened on Sunday:

calf hutch

If you’re not sure what type of animal typically lives in this type of set up, it’s one of these:

Jersey heifer calf

That’s right. Barry brought that little booger home from work with him on Sunday evening. But let me back up a bit.

On Thursday afternoon I received a text from Barry asking if I minded if he brought a calf home from work (he works on a dairy farm). Long story short, a cow calved that wasn’t supposed to be pregnant, and they don’t keep the calves from that particular group of cows. So it’s finders, keepers on the farm and Barry found her. He said he wanted to bring her home and wanted to know if that was okay. My reply: “Seriously? Where are we going to keep a calf!? I’m all for it, though. ๐Ÿ™‚ ”

So he said he would figure things out. She was born last Thursday, but was roughly 1 1/2 months early. Barry waited a few days to make sure she was going to live, and then brought her home on Sunday when she was three days old.

Jersey heifer calf

She’s a tiny little thing, and only weighs in around 35 pounds.

Jersey heifer calf

We let her walk around the backyard for a bit and gave her a bottle because she was hungry. Like all calves, she’s on a milk diet right now. Barry has plans for her to be bottle-fed three times per day.

Bottle-fed calf

Once she had a full belly on Sunday evening, we got her settled into her new digs. She seemed to be a fan of her new neighbors (the chickens) and her new hutch.

calf collage1

Jersey heifer calf

Once she was settled, we let Hank and Scout into the backyard to meet the new resident. Hank spent his puppy years on the dairy farm and is very used to cows and calves. He’s excited about the new calf, but it’s nothing new to him. Scout, on the other hand, is not as experienced with cows or calves. She’s been around them a bit, but every time the calf moved Scout would hide behind Barry or me.

bloodhound and calf
Come out to play, calf!
bloodhound and calf
Scout cautiously checking things out
bloodhound and calf
Hank makes himself at home
bloodhound and jersey heifer calf
Scout decides to get a closer look since Hank seems fine with things. The calf doesn’t mind any of this.

So what’s the plan? I’m not sure. Initially we thought we would just raise her for meat, which means I made a conscious decision not to name her. But the second I saw her in our driveway, the name Annabelle popped into my head. So now there’s that.

Jersey heifer calf

Barry mentioned raising her and then breeding her and having more calves. I guess we will just play it by ear and see where we end up!

Have you ever raised or bottle-fed a calf?
What’s the strangest animal you’ve ever seen someone keep either in their yard or as a pet?
My roommate in college had a pet hedgehog, which was definitely not the norm but was really cool!

14 thoughts on “My house is becoming a menagerie…”

    1. I promise not to tell you – although I think it’s pretty much off the table now, since I named her. Even if we did, it would be years from now and who knows if my blog will still even be around!

  1. So adorable! Will she eventually get to just roam the yard or would she get into trouble? Is she a dairy cow (like, could you use her for milk, if not for meat?).

    The weirdest pet I’ve ever had was a hedgehog (named Sonic, obviously). She was kinda mean, though. My parents had some turkeys and chickens once, then a coyote came in and ate them all except for one turkey, who had one of her legs bit off. She recovered fine, so my parents named her Peg (for peg leg), but she was super mean and would try to attack them every time they went outside, so someone had to distract her while the other one ran inside. They ate her for Thanksgiving…

    1. No, definitely won’t be roaming the yard! I do not need cow poo everywhere, haha. Barry has talked about creating an area for her from our chicken run over (which her hutch is next to) over to a building on the edge of the yard. But we’ve also talked about leasing land… so we’ll see. She is a dairy cow and we could milk her when she gets older.

      So cool that you had a hedgehog, too! My roommates was so neat. He was scared of us, and would hide, but he knew her and would come out and play with her. He made a lot of noise at night, though. I remember your parent’s turkey named Peg! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Aww, baby cow! But she’s going to outgrow her little house in no time! My in-laws raise beef cows, although they only butcher one a year. We usually get some meat from them, and it’s the best! (Spoken like a true carnivore) If you bred her, what would you do with the calves? You could always just sell them, that can be slightly profitable.

    1. Yes, she’s going to be doing a lot of growing very quickly. That’s cool about your inlaws! The farm Barry works at often gives a ‘Christmas bonus’ of beef (they also raise beef cows), so we always have a freezer full! It is the best.

      I think if we did breed her, we would probably sell the calves. Not entirely sure, though, as I’m not the one running this show! I run the chicken show ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Your dad’s comment! LOL

    I DID know what lives in those houses because I too have raised calves from the bottle. It’s so much fun! How about you keep her for a dairy cow and have fresh milk daily? Obviously she’d have to have a calf first. What kind is she, Jersey or Brown Swiss? Sooooo cute. And I’m dying over the face that you named her accidentally. LOL!

    1. It is a lot of fun, and you really bond with them through bottle feeding (which can be dangerous!). We could certainly milk her and have fresh milk, and yes she would have to calve first, but it would be a lot of work! I’m not sure I’m up for that. She’s a Jersey!

  4. Annabelle is adorable! Please raise her for milk, not beef. ๐Ÿ™‚ My entire 7th grade I wouldn’t eat beef because I “knew” that particular beef cow. The next year Dad sent one I wasn’t familiar with to slaughter so I would start eating meat again.

    In high school I was in charge of raising all of the dairy cattle’s calves. That meant getting up around 5 AM to feed them Purina Nurse ‘N’ Grow, and making sure I was home by 5 PM to feed them again. I also fed the older ones grain and hay. Dad let me vaccinate all of the baby calves, too.

    1. I think Jerseys are the cutest as calves! I’m not sure we will be raising her for beef, since I went and named her. I had a friend in college who didn’t eat her family’s beef for the same reason as you!

      That’s cool that you were in charge of the calves in high school. I think I’ve told you that my best friend grew up on a dairy farm… it’s a lot of work to do that in addition to school. Plus snow days don’t mean a day to sleep in, do they!?

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