Baby calves and 3 tips for getting necessary vitamins

There is nothing more exciting when I get to see a new baby be born on the farm. It is even more fun around a holiday like Christmas! This week, my grandpa’s cow had a newborn calf.

Say hello to Pat, the baby calf! She is a purebred Shorthorn and will be raised for beef.

As I grew up, I would often help in the labor process, whether it was to calm the mama cow, assist in pulling any calves that were having trouble being born on their own or after labor, bedding the pen and helping the baby nurse from its mom. One of the most important factors for a newborn is ensuring it nurses within an hour or so of birth.

I often helped cows in the birthing process. In this photo, my friend Joy and I are making sure the head and feet are facing the correct direction before the mother cow starts to push. It isn’t always the cleanest job… as you can see by the look on my face.

Just like human children, animal babies need nutrients when they come into the world. The mother’s milk has that. Once the calf is old enough, it becomes supplemented with grass, hay and grains to help it grow and continue to have the foods it needs to be well nourished.

As adults, I often see people not intaking their “nutrients” needed to be healthy and well nourished. As we are around the heat of the holidays, this struck me as an important topic. We might think it is difficult to eat health or get our necessary vitamins. Here are three tips I can offer for getting your vitamins. (Please note, I am not a doctor. Consult your medical professional for specific recommendations for your needs)


1. Eat a colorful plate of whole foods.

Have you ever noticed the colors of your foods? What appears more vibrant: a bowl of macaroni and cheese or a bowl of sweet potato and broccoli? Both options would be flavorful and have carbohydrates for energy. However, the macaroni and cheese may not offer the natural vitamins and nutrients you can find from vegetables.

I always recommend eating more whole foods, less processed and the fresher, the better! I am one who does not mind eating the same thing over and over again. But for you, it might help to add variety to the types of vegetables, fruits and whole grains you consume. Maybe swap out a banana instead of an orange or eat a slice of Ezekiel toast instead of a 1/2 cup of oatmeal.

Look at all the colors! This was a favorite evening meal a few weeks ago. Rosemary Thyme Salmon with Brown Rice, Kiwi, Broccoli Carrots and a bit of Red Pepper Hummus.


2. Add dietary supplements.

Sometimes we can’t eat or just don’t like to eat certain foods that contain vitamins we need. For example, I have cut out most dairy products because they have been irritating my stomach and causing my skin to break out. I know that dairy products are high in calcium. In order to compensate for the vitamin I am not receiving through food, I take a daily calcium supplement from Vitamin Shoppe.

When our newborn calves are on the farm, we ensure they have all the vitamins they need through a probiotic “vitamin” we give them on their birthday. Once the calf is a few months old, it is then supplemented grain that has additional nutrients and some dietary vitamins.

I personally source my vitamins from Vitamin Shoppe. Today, I take daily multivitamin, Biocell Collagen II with Hyaluronic Acid for my joints, and fish oil. I might incorporate others if I feel I need an immune boost (Vitamin C) and evenings with calcium citrate and magnesium for improved sleep and relaxation.


3. Stay hydrated and drink holistic liquid sources

Vitamins are not just found in whole foods, but also in drinks like coffee, milk, coconut water and tea. These liquids we consume can add benefits, within moderation. I always recommend drinking a lot of water as well, to refresh your body that can easily become dehydrated and improve functionality with more water consumption.

Calves will start to drink water at a couple months old, in addition to their mother’s milk. With these three ideas for increasing daily vitamin intake, little Pat is going to grow into a healthy young calf, just like you can continue growing into a more healthy adult. I hope you think about these as we approach a new year, with new resolutions and new goals to accomplish!




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