Living on a farm has afforded our six kids ample opportunity to participate in raising animals. It is a chore and a pleasure I would love to give to each child whether from a farm or the city.
The life lessons to be learned are important as a kid takes on the full responsibility of a creature being totally dependent on him or her.We have rehabilitated wildlife, always maintained a large variety of pets, raised orphans and produced animals for 4-H in addition to our family farm production of raising grass-fed beef.
It happens every so often that we will have a calf orphaned or otherwise victim of circumstances that require being raised on a bottle. It usually falls to the youngest of the children to take on the chore of bottle-feeding.What always begins as pleasure and fun gives way to the realization of real work.
Such is the case with a calf being raised this year by our 8 year-old daughter, Katie Grace.She has never had the responsibility before and begged to be allowed to be the one to do the feeding. Previously, she had always looked upon the job as pure fun when she had helped her brothers with the duty.
This year she bears the full responsibility herself and though the fun has worn off she is doing a wonderful job of living up to the trust place in her and her fulfillment of her responsibility.Even on the occasion recently when we sat down to the table to eat dinner and she had neglected to feed the calf she uncomplainingly got up from the table, fixed a bottle,fed the calf and then returned to the table.
Equally important to the responsibilities taught by these farm lessons is the appreciation and respect for the wondrous creature called a cow. We have several former bottle calves that will still come up to you in the pasture to be petted.