We have a new silver bottlefed Scottish Highland calf named Mr. Crackle. Visit this cutie during Store Hours: Fri and Sat from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

What makes Kids and Calves the Perfect Combination?

written by

Carole Soule

posted on

July 7, 2024

2023 Farm-camp alums take their calves for a walk on a brisk fall day at Miles Smith Farm in Loudon. 
Don’t wait to enroll your child in the 2024 Cow Camp. Registration closes on July 13. 

Click here to sign up. Scholarships are available. 


Click here to sign up. Scholarships are available. 

The kids hooted as they pulled on lead ropes and dashed around the barnyard, each with a calf in tow. They didn’t need any encouragement to run in this competition; what child doesn’t want to race about with a calf? The calves were just as eager. It’s true. Children and calves love to run.

After the third race, everyone was exhausted and ready for a nap, even me, and I was just an observer.

These kids and some calves were graduates of the 2023 Cow Camp at Miles Smith Farm. In July, the children had spent three weeks training calves, doing farm chores, and getting dirty. Twelve graduates were invited back for five “advanced calf training” Saturdays, working with five Belted Galloway heifers (female calves). These heifers joined ten trained summer camp calves.

Halter Training

After naming the new heifers after Greek goddesses Athena, Circe, Hera, Venus, and Iris, the children put a halter on each, tied their lead ropes to a solid post, and stood back. Venus leaped in the air while Hera dashed to the end of her rope, turned, and ran the other way. My star pupil, tiny Iris, quickly calmed down and watched her sisters’ antics. After 20 minutes, they got tired of fighting the tether, but the battle was not over. The calves dragged their lead ropes for a few days as they wandered free in their pen.

Now halter trained, the calves were ready for the next step. These newbies need to trust humans, and after two months off, the 2023 summer camp calves required a refresher course.

The children were told to lead the trained calves or take on one of the newbies. Rose didn’t hesitate. She grabbed Circe’s rope and led her into the barnyard, where Circe bounded and leaped. Rose did the right thing. She stood her ground, holding the lead line so that Circe ran in circles around Rose. This technique keeps the handler safe and away from danger while the calf burns off energy. The calf thought she was running away but was orbiting Rose. The same thing happened with Cameron when he took Hera for a walk. He stood still while Hera ran in circles.

Calf Training

The kids also learned to use a stick to “extend their arm” when touching a nervous calf. The child can stroke and touch the calf without getting too close, which is good for a shy calf and good for the child.

At the end of the third session, I asked, “Who got dirty?” They all raised their hands. When I asked, “Who had fun?” The same hands shot into the air. Later, William’s mom told me her son can’t wait until next year’s Farm Calf Camp, which is happening this week.

The first 2024 Calf Camp session is full, but we still have room in the second session, which will be held on July 22-26 for children ages 8-14 who love animals.

Don’t wait to enroll your child in the 2024 Cow Camp. Registration closes on July 13. Click here to sign up. Scholarships are available. 

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Carole Soule is co-owner of Miles Smith Farm (www.milessmithfarm.com), where she raises and sells pork, raw milk, eggs, and beef. She can be reached at carole@soulecoaching.com.

Cow Camp

2024 Farm Camp

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