Young animals have a joie de vivre that can’t be matched. As they age, they settle into their routines, eat their meals with purposeful solemnity, and nod disapprovingly at the antics of the younguns. Occasionally you’ll find an old cow kick up her heels and then look around to make sure nobody noticed, but calves will turn any event into a celebration.
The calf area in the hoophouse was starting to get messy (notice the dirty flanks), so we led the calves out, cleaned the manure and general mess, put down fresh bedding, reloaded their hay feeder, and turned them back in. Every time we return them to their home, they spend five minutes pretending they are rodeo bulls. The routine involves eating a mouthful of hay, running a lap, kicking your heels up, and trying your best not to crash into your roommates who are doing the same thing. We don’t know what they get out of it, but they seem to have a blast.