One day, my Mom was over at the house and said, “I was talking to you and looked over next to me thinking it was you, and…it was you but like I was talking to at 8 years old again.” She thought Phoenix was me, we are so much alike. All these kids have a little piece of me in them, but Phoenix is almost a spitin’ image. We even cackle the same. God bless her…
Phoenix is the 3rd of 5. She’s truly embraced the middle child role. She is a leader but a caretaker, a dreamer and creative host. Social media isn’t her problem, but getting snake bit cause she didn’t have shoes on is.
She loves animals (that’s a family thang) but one day, Phoenix said, “Mom. Daddy. I want a cat of my own.” So Kevin went out and they adopted a very special cat of her own.
Another day Phoenix said, “I want a hamster to keep in my room.” So, we went out and bought a giant colorful and complex cage for this very simple animal (queue my eye roll).
Another day came by and she said, “I really want a ferret. They are so fuzzy and cute. I can keep him with me at all times.” And we said, “ohhh, ok no. No way, Jose.” shaking our heads.
Devastatingly, the cat died under unfortunate circumstances and the hamster became the dogs appetizer for the night. We knew we couldn’t have another pet inside. There’s not enough space for another beating heart in this house. So, we settled on a calf, and she loves her. Her name is Fern. We thought that she was the perfect opportunity for the new farm and gave Phoenix something else to take care of.
Bottle feeding can be intense. Fern was 1 week old when we brought her home. Some calves need bottles if the mom rejects them, she may have been sick, or the baby needs care. I’m not sure what happened to Fern, but we sure are glad she’s with us.
She started with 3-4 bottles a day, about every 6 hours for 4 weeks. Then it was twice a day for 8 weeks and gave free range hay. For 3 weeks we increasingly diluted the bottles, then supplemented with hay and grain. Then finally being dependent on hay. Whew! There were a lot of Saturdays she didn’t want to wake up early to feed them, but nothing great comes from a lack of effort.
She took bottles for a total of 4 months and until she was over 200lbs and could eat hay. The interaction makes for a very docile and social gal.
Before she became so big, Phoenix would get Fern’s halter and Fern would take her for walks around the property. A scary site for a mom, but the FFA kids are quite amazing the way they bond and work with their animals.
They are completely off the bottle now. Eating well and still happy as ever. Fern had pink eye about a week ago. Good thing there’s a nurse in the house to know to administer antibiotics subcutaneously. Adults are spoiled. Fancy IVs with fancy multigenerational antibiotics. Ugh, makes Fern look like a super hero.
It kills me how fast these kids are growing up. I’m still plotting ways to freeze them in time so I can enjoy them always.
I’ve been trying to convince Kevin we need more bottle calves. Such adorable babies!! I have baby fever. Hummm. Maybe he won’t notice if I throw a couple more in there?
When these guys get big enough, they will go out to the pasture with the adults. Since she’s fresh meat to a bull, we have to make sure she’s safe. So the calves stay in their pin with the pigs until they are ready.
Did I mention how much I love them??