Bottle Calf 101: 5 Tips for First-Time Bottle Calf Mamas

how to raise a bottle calf

Today I’m thrilled to welcome Pam of Learning to Be Me, a fellow blogger and dear friend, as she shares her adventure in raising a bottle calf last year. Enjoy her journal of her experiences and look for 5 tips at the end of the post if you are interested in raising a bottle calf of your own!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Have you heard the saying, “Be careful what you wish for?”

I should edit that to, “Be careful what you mention to a farmer!”

Early in December (2012) I mentioned to a new farmer friend that we might want to raise a bottle calf this year for beef.  Of course I was speaking way ahead of being ready for said bottle calf and truly had no thought of this happening until MUCH later in 2013.

So guess who calls on December 31?!

This farmer had a cow that had delivered twins and was rejecting the female calf.  He was taking care of the calf that night but REALLY wanted someone else to take her the next day.  He reminded me that she would be sterile due to twin pregnancy with male/female combo.  A little research tells me that the female from this set of twins is sterile 92% of the time.  In other words, she is destined to be a beef cow.

I battled the pro’s and con’s all night.  I tend to work out dilemmas while I sleep.  When I got up I was certain the correct answer was “no” since we simply weren’t ready, not to mention It’s WINTER!

Then I went outside for chores.  The sun was bright and glorious.  I could sense God’s hope and blessing.

When next I talked with the farmer, I said “yes”.  He didn’t waste any time bringing her and a bottle over to me. … [Continue Reading]

How to Prepare for Animal Injuries on the Homestead

I’m taking a little vacation from writing posts this week and am pleased to welcome Nichelle from Little Homestead on the Range. She’s sharing her experiences with dealing with animal injuries on the homestead–and let me tell ya–she’s had some doozies!

Homesteading usually involves animals, and animals ALWAYS mean that eventually you WILL deal with injuries, both minor and severe, sometimes even resulting in death. This is probably the least fun of all aspects of homesteading, but a reality nonetheless.

Fact: Animals get hurt. Horses seem to be especially good at getting into trouble, even in a padded room!

Fact: The more animals you have, the higher the chance of occurrence of injury. They WILL get hurt.

So the biggest question is: Are YOU prepared to deal with injuries yourself, even if it’s just temporary until a vet can attend to the injury?

It’s a good idea to do your research on the animals you own, or wish to own–know what plants are poisonous in your area and what are the biggest risk factors for those animals. Keep in mind that not all species can be treated the same. For example, cows and horses are both large livestock animals, but have completely different needs and risk factors. Don’t assume that just because they are both big, hoofed animals that they require the same care and nutrition. For example, horses can easily colic from hay that is suitable for cows (horses only have one stomach as opposed to a cow’s four), while a cow can bloat from something in horse-quality hay that may not affect the horse.

animal first aid homestead

One of the most important aspects of livestock ownership is being prepared to humanely end an animal’s life.

It’s not fun to talk about, but many homesteaders prefer to handle such situations themselves, especially if they are striving for self-sufficiency.

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Diatomaceous Earth for your Family, Home, and Homestead

how to use diatomaceous earth

I’m taking a little break from writing posts this week, so I’m totally excited to have a special guest post today–please welcome Danielle from It’s a Love Love Thing!

Hello, Prairie Homestead readers! My name’s Danielle – but you can call me Dandy. I’m so honored and happy to be here with you today, but I’m afraid I have something to confess straight away: it’s a habit of mine here lately, a dirty one.

The truth is – I eat dirt. Every day.


But don’t write me off just yet – let me explain.

I don’t eat just any dirt. It’s a special type, found in certain deposits around the world, and you might even have a bag of it in your laundry room or shed.

What dirt would that be? Why, diatomaceous earth, that’s what! If you’ve been following Jill or have read her books, you know she’s a fan of diatomaceous earth. My family is, too.

Let me ask you – do you want an effortless way to detox your body? Do you know someone who would like to lower their blood pressure? Would you like to have natural parasite protection for your pets and livestock? Well, read on; I’d love to talk more about this precious powder, and share with you many of the ways it can be used to help improve your health, your home, and of course, your homestead.

Let’s get started!

What Exactly is Diatomaceous Earth?

I thought you’d never ask!

Diatomaceous earth technically comes from the cell walls of fossilized single-cell diatoms – essentially, it’s a fossil, ground into a very fine powder. There are two general types of diatomaceous earth: food grade and industrial grade. While industrial grade is toxic to humans and pets, food grade diatomaceous earth is non-toxic and very beneficial on multiple levels, and is the type I’ll be discussing with you here today.… [Continue Reading]

The Great Home Dairy Round-Up (20+ posts to get you milking!)

home dairy milk cow

Home dairying definitely wins the prize for one of my most-favorite aspects of homesteading.

I’ve loved sharing some of my favorite recipes and tips with you, and I’ve enjoyed hearing about your home dairy adventuress in the process.

We recently weaned our calf, which means I’m now milking twice per day and able to dive back into my cheese making adventures.

So to celebrate, I’ve decided to do a little round-up of all the home dairy posts I’ve shared so far–and keep your eyes peeled for lots more!

how to milk once a day

1. How to Milk Once Per Day

how to milk a cow

2. How to Milk a Cow (video post)

raw milk

3. Why We Drink Raw Milk

raw milk safety

4. Six Tips for Safely Handling Raw Milk

raw milk tastes bad

5) 16 Possible Reasons for Off-Flavors in Milk

goat milk is gross

6) Goat’s Milk is Gross… Or is it?

homemade udder balm or salve

7) DIY Udder Salve (for goats, cows, and your own hands, too)

printable milk record sheet

8) Free Printable Milk Record Sheet

9) 5 Things You Should Know About Goat’s Milk

10) Milk Cow or Dairy Goat?

11) My Simple Milking Routine

12) How to Improvise Milking Equipment (and an update to the original post)

13) Goat 101: How to Milk a Goat **VIDEO**

14) Our Goat Milking Stand

15) How to Use a Goat Stand (video)

16) Dam Raised Goats: 4 Reasons to Skip the Bottle

17) Baking Soda… For Goats?

18) If a Butter Mold Could Talk (where I get all sappy over my butter mold. Yes, really.)


how to make fromage blanc soft cheese

19. How to Make Fromage Blanc (Simple Soft Cheese)

how to make cream cheese

20. How to Make Cream Cheese

how to use leftover whey

21. 16+ Things to do with Leftover Whey

how to use whey, lemon whey pie

22. Old-Fashioned Lemon Whey Pie

sour milk clabber

23. 20 Ways to Use Sour Milk

mozzarella recipe

24. How to Make Traditional Mozzarella (Part 1) & (Part 2)

homemade cheese sauce recipe

25. Easy Homemade Cheese Sauce from Scratch

how to make yogurt

 26. Homemade Yogurt in a Mason Jar

(And a very happy Thanksgiving to all of my US readers tomorrow!)


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