Discovery Ranch for Girls Calf Program
One of the most rewarding programs you’ll find at Discovery Ranch for Girls is our feeder calf program. When your daughter arrives, she will have the opportunity to adopt a newborn dairy calf. Your daughter can develop empathy, responsibility, and love. The feelings that your daughter has for the calf can help her to open up. She will become better able to express these feelings for family and friends.
Adoption Opportunity for Orphaned Calves
The calves offered for adoption have been orphaned. Dairy farmers take calves from their mothers. This allows the mother to produce milk for the dairy industry. The calves are usually around a day old. Without our students' care and support, the calves will die.
This dependency helps create a bond between the calf and its caretaker. The calves bond right away to their new mother. Calves must be fed a milk replacement twice a day. Caring for calves helps girls to think outside of themselves.
Most teens care for more than one calf while they are at the ranch. The first calf will be raised until it is four months old, then the calf will transition to another local ranch. Then teens begin the process again with a new calf.
This therapy has been especially effective for young women who are adopted. Adoption issues are often brought to light as teens care for their calves.
Developing Love Through Service
The calf program has helped many young women like your daughter to learn how to express love. Some of our girls have expressed their innate desire to help the calves survive and thrive. The experience helps young women develop responsibility. After all, they must care for their calves no matter the weather and even on days they do not feel like doing it.
Overcoming Self-Centered Attitudes
Many young women who come to the ranch relate better to animals than to people. The experience of taking care of a calf is a model of relationships. Therapists use this model to help young women understand human relationships.
Your daughter will also learn about hard work. Helping her calf survive and thrive daily helps to develop responsibility. Your daughter will learn about sacrifice and service. She will develop empathy. As she becomes more empathetic, selfish and self-centered habits and attitudes will decrease.
If her calf thrives, then your daughter will feel a sense of accomplishment. She will develop the ability to put someone else's needs before their own. Sometimes, even when given the best care, calves die. If your daughter's calf dies, then she will learn about loss. She will experience grief and loss in a structured and safe environment.
Unlike some pets, such as dogs, calves do not form a lifelong bond. Calves move from complete dependence to independence in a short time. When calves are four months old, then they are old enough to move on to local ranches. If your daughter's calf reaches this age, then she will experience a different kind of loss.
Learning to let go of a calf that she loves parallels the experience of parents. Her therapist and support staff will help her to process the experience of letting go. This experience will help your daughter to develop empathy for her own parents.