About two weeks ago, we started to ween the calf from milk to grain and grass. It took some serious snuffing of maternal instincts not to sneak out at night and give the poor girl her bottle. She already wanted to try to suck on everything in sight, and weening her made that behavior even worse.
She couldn’t seem to get the hang of just eating grain out of a bucket, and wanted instead to sort of suck it off our fingers. It was like the muscles of her lips just didn’t know how to do anything else. She’s getting pretty big and strong, and the sucking often left my hands slightly purple for several minutes afterwards. But gradually she started to understand how to use her mouth to gather the grain up from our open hands and chew it, instead of slurping it. The morning that she finally, spontaneously, ate directly from the bucket instead of my hands was a triumph. We started to move her out to the pasture on a tether during the day (to acquaint her with the other cows and with the electric fence), and she started showing some interest in grass.
So this week, we graduated her to the pasture, un-tethered, with the other cows, and we were like proud but slightly nervous parents sending our child off to the first day of big school.
A couple of videos of the actual move are here and here. I had to stop recording the first one because I was laughing and shaking the camera, due to Rosalila’s attempts to head-butt H’s “udder” for a little milk!
Watching the “herd’s” first face-to-face interactions was fascinating, but fortunately uneventful.
We still catch her trying to suck on things inappropriately from time to time (such as the useless nipples of Rufus, who is, yes, a male), but she appears to be adapting well and is, hoorah, eating grass!