Auction barn calves

I enjoyed your article titled “Bottle-raise a calf.” We just purchased a bull calf Holstein at auction. Your advice lends some confidence, but I am still worried. Calf has been with us a week – he still has soft, squishy bowels off and on — nothing frothy or foamy or very liquid, but I can’t decided what to do, administer medicated sav-a-caf MR, try penicillin, call a vet, or stick to the basics, electrolytes and kaolin. He stand ok and walks and frolics, he eats well and wags his tail. When he runs or moves around a lot, he has an occasional cough, but not when he is at rest. Thoughts? And if doing Penicillin, how many days is a course?

Also, he has a bit of yellow dried booger on the sides of his nostrils — should I be worried about this? It’s not how you described it “thick, white, snotty.”

Carrie Timlin
Scott Township, Pennsylvania

Usually auction barn calves don’t get sick until they’ve been home about two weeks, which is usually the time required for scours bacteria to incubate. If the stools get white or watery, begin treatment immediately. I really like using Sustain III. This is a solid bolus (pill) that usually stops the scours and sickness within 3 days. At the same time, we switch from giving milk to electrolytes so the calf doesn’t get dehydrated. Milk is irritating to the gut and can keep the scours going even when the bacteria has been killed off. If you use injectable penicillin, give it according to the directions on the bottle for a week even if the calf seems much better sooner. I wouldn’t worry too much about the dried yellow crust around the edges of his nostrils as long as his nose is dotted with watery, shiny calf “sweat” when he nurses and his cough doesn’t get worse. Calves that are under six weeks of age seldom get pneumonia. At that age, it is usually scours. — Jackie

Canning cheese

Since you now have a cow, I hope you’re experimenting with cheeses. I just made a Queso Blanco cheese by Ricki Carroll’s method (simply heat and add apple cider vinegar). She says that it doesn’t melt. That leads me to wonder if it wouldn’t be a great cheese to CAN! It is a very bland cheese, taking on the flavors of the food you use it in. I just wondered if you had tried canning cheese anymore. I know you didn’t recommend it last time I checked.

Sarah Axsom

While I don’t “recommend” canning cheese because it’s an untested food for canning, I certainly DO can cheese and you’ll even find instructions in my book Growing and Canning Your Own Food. Yes, I do make cheeses of all sorts. Having said that, I have to tell you I haven’t tried canning any of the soft cheeses such as queso blanco or cream cheese yet. I’ll tell you what; next time I make a batch of soft cheese, I’ll can up a few jars and let you know how it works. — Jackie


  1. I have canned homemade velvetta and had problems with separation. I also just did the store bought velvetaa and not problems with that. I maybe will try the cream cheese now.

  2. I’ve had excellent results canning store bought velveeta cheese and cream cheese.
    Don’t be concerned with air pockets it has no effect at all after one year.
    I also did the water bath method. Super easy and yummy!

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