Feeding Calves a Hundred Years Ago

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, September 9, 1911: Today was rather a blue Saturday. It was so rainy this morning. Henry the nosey one upset almost a whole bucket full of milk. I felt rather sorrowful, but there was no use of crying over spilt milk.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Who was Henry?—a dog?, . . a cat? . . . a calf? I’m guessing that he was a calf that Grandma was trying to feed. He probably was really hungry, and in his enthusiasm managed to tip over the bucket of skim milk.

A hundred years ago cream separators were commonly used. The cream was sold or used to make butter—and calves (and pigs) were fed the skim milk.

Ad in July 1, 1911 issue of Kimball's Dairy Farmer Magazine

According to a book published in 1911 called The Farm Dairy by H.B. Gurler:

The calf should be allowed to take the first milk from its dam as nature requires this and if her rules are violated there will surely be trouble. After the calf has once nursed, it should be removed from its mother but fed its mother’s milk for a few days, depending on the vigor of the calf. Commence to add skim-milk after a week or ten days, adding a small amount at first and increasing it daily until the calf is on an entire skim milk diet.

There are a few simple rules to follow in growing calves on skim-milk. The milk must be sweet; it must be as warm as the mother’s milk and care must be exercised not to feed too much of it. There are many more calves injured by being fed too much skim milk than there are by not having enough of it. Four quarts at a feed twice a day is sufficient for the average-sized calf for the first month.

Add a spoonful of ground flax seed to each feed and teach the calf to eat a little corn-meal as soon as possible. Corn is the most economical food to balance a ration containing so much skim milk. Feed shelled corn as soon as the young calf will digest it well.

4 thoughts on “Feeding Calves a Hundred Years Ago

  1. Enjoy reading about your Grandmother! She seems to have had quite a sense of humor too “but there was no use of crying over spilt milk” 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Grandma still had a sense of humor even when she was elderly. She particularly liked practical jokes. I remember one April Fool’s Day when she rolled up a piece of paper and enjoyed shocking the grandchildren that “Grandma was smoking”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s