The reason why we adopt second calves onto cows is that there are many calves born in dairy herds because a dairy cow has to have a calf a year to stay in milk, are raised for “veal” . They are raised often in kennels by themselves ( although this is now against the law in the UK) fed milk from buckets, not allowed to graze or given hay, and slaughtered for veal when they are 24 weeks old. If some of these calves can be raised by cows and mothered, they can live lives outside grazing with other calves and cows and have a better life. The problem is that often the suckler cow ( a cow that suckles her calf) will not accept a second calf, so we found out how to persuade her to do this in the 1970’s after 5 years research.
Our two cows Primrose and Snowdrop, are half beef bred cows, the other half is Jersey ( a milking breed) so they have far too much milk to feed just one calf. By introducing a second calf to them, they can feed him and also allow us to take some of the milk for us and for cheese, butter, and yogurt… but we have to teach them that this will be best for them and they will not suffer from having too much milk which as any mother knows can be very painful.