Massey135 wrote:Starting them on a bottle is prolly "better" but at what cost. My reference was feeding 20 calves at a time - mixing it up in 5 gallon buckets sure beats making 20 bottles. Dairies all over bucket feeding calves in crates. These are $500 heifers the day they're born - doubt they're inflicting long term damage.
There was a time when you could get dairy bulls for $5 back in the 70's. Dad did way more than 20 back then. We cycled them through the nurse cows and onto bottles. It was a lot of work but it didn't hurt me any. (remember I am the one who swore I would never own a cow?)
Now days it is a matter of me picking up a few beef splits from the sale barn to graft onto a nurse cow. Usually they are a few days old and have had colostrums when I pick them. If I were to lose one, I would essentially lose all credible profit from grafting them on to the nurse cow. Beef splits are not cheap. If the cow is expected to calve in a couple of days and the sale is Friday, I could be feeding for up to 5 days. That has happened.
From my personal experiences back then, through the years, and up to now, I would never use a bucket. dun would disagree with me, as you do, and that is okay. I stated my reasoning and it is okay if you disagree with me. I would offer the same advice to anyone else, including the person who created this thread.
Our ancestors gave us this. They fought to make it what it is. All we have to do is defend it.