The first meal

“Has the calf sucked yet?” is one of the most often asked questions I get from my father when I report that I’ve discovered a newborn.

calf #186 looks for his first meal

Here, the question refers to one of the newborn calf’s most critical and primary tasks after the umbilical cord is severed–nursing his mother (I found out that the proper term for suck is suckled but to me that sounds even worse). As soon as the calf is able to stabilize himself on his four feet, instinct tells him to go on a search for something hanging down that squeezes. With nice weather, a healthy calf, and a cooperative and properly-endowed cow, no human assistance is necessary to aid the calf in this task. When one or more of the four qualifications I just mentioned is not met, human assistance may be required. I will cover those instances in posts to follow.

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