The difficulties of breaking in a calf

This is clearly not just a Mennonite problem but rather one any dairy farmer would experience. Extra difficulty occurs though on a Mennonite farm because they “break in” a calf a day or two after it is born. To better understand what I mean by “breaking in” a calf, take a look at the graphic below:
The difficulties of breaking in a calf

It involves training a calf to drink milk out of a bucket (B) rather than suckling on its mother tit (A).

Now to make the above happen, there are usually two problems. Refer the the graphic below.
The difficulties of breaking in a calf

(A) Calves love the tit!

This is obvious and doesn’t need explaining. The problem is that because of this, it creates problem B.

(B) Calves naturally bend their necks up when having diner

Although a calf may appear small and cute, they can have more strength than one would expect.

The solution: It’s actually a 2 man job

One of the younger males in the Mennonite household is charged solely with the task of holding down the calves neck. Often this involves shoving the head into the bucket and mustering all strength to keep it there. Failure to do so will strain the relation between the two brothers.

Part B of the operation involves the actual training. Brother number 2 (usually older) will stick 2 fingers in the bucket and make the motion below upon which the calf will suck. This semi-simulates the mothers tit and is a good transition until the calf learns that in fact it can drink up the milk without needing to suck on something.
The difficulties of breaking in a calf

So there you go, next you need to break in a calf, perhaps you can try the Menno method. At minimum, at least now you know how it happens.

Ready to leave a nasty comment? Gunning to correct me? Do me one solid and read my disclaimer first.

One Response to The difficulties of breaking in a calf

  1. Oh man, I’ve done the Menno method of breaking calves to bucket drink more times than I care to count. Usually by myself, I wound up wearing more milk than the little twerp drank until their blockheaded selves learned to drink. Ah, bucket breaking and more laundry. A Menno woman’s day is never done!

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