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Bottle feeding a calf??

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Bottle feeding a calf??

Post Number:#1  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:55 pm


DH's gpa just called - one of his cows had twins and he's going now to see if she's going to take both or just one and asked if I would be interested in taking on the other if she didn't. Part of me wanted to say YES instantly b/c I have always wanted to try, but then again, I know the end result for said cows and that would be much harder to stomach (ha ha... ha... erm :? ) if we (myself and the kids) had bottle fed it. Unless of course one is female, then it would likely be reintroduced into the group. I have a smaller area out back that I had 2 nigerian dwarf goats in for a little while - I think it will be plenty for a NB calf, and if I have to keep it longer it would be easy to expand. If the fencing could withstand the goats and thier head butting I am sure it will be fine :roll: . I needed/wanted to get a few more cattle panels for my garden set up anyway (hooped trellises) - I can never seem to have enough, they get used for a wide variety of things around here.
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Re: Bottle feeding a calf??

Post Number:#2  Unread postby alforddm » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:55 pm


Raising calves is not that hard. You will need to feed it at least twice a day, 3 is better and you can't overfeed or they will scour. You can get scour meds at tractor supply or a feed store. You can also get those nursing buckets or a bottle holder to make things easier. I've never used a nursing bucket but the bottle holders worked well when we hand raised several at a time once. You can start introduction of solids almost right away and can wean safely as early as 4 weeks. I think reading this article might be helpful. http://extension.psu.edu/animals/dairy/ ... strategies

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Re: Bottle feeding a calf??

Post Number:#3  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:31 pm


alforddm wrote:Raising calves is not that hard. You will need to feed it at least twice a day, 3 is better and you can't overfeed or they will scour. You can get scour meds at tractor supply or a feed store. You can also get those nursing buckets or a bottle holder to make things easier. I've never used a nursing bucket but the bottle holders worked well when we hand raised several at a time once. You can start introduction of solids almost right away and can wean safely as early as 4 weeks. I think reading this article might be helpful. http://extension.psu.edu/animals/dairy/ ... strategies


along with "scour meds" make sure you have some CORID on hand ,just in case of scours that doesn't respond within 12 hours... JMHO...
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Re: Bottle feeding a calf??

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Catherine99 » Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:19 am


Calves are very easy to bottle feed. All dairy calves are bottle feed. We used to have up forty to feed.

As the others said scouring is the major risk.

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Re: Bottle feeding a calf??

Post Number:#5  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:17 am


Well, same result, different path... he went back the next day and never found that second baby mentioned in my original post :(

DH and my oldest were out squirrel hunting and his dog started growling - DH went to check it out and found this poor girl curled up in the leaves. A couple days old the best we can tell - still has a cord, about 75% dry. The color of it's poop leads me to believe she's had at least a little of her mom's milk. DH's gpa thinks she might have pneumonia - I thought her breathing wasn't quite right, but I know next to nothing as far as calves go. She had been up and walking at some point - her hooves are pretty torn up on the bottoms, and she had briars in her fur with no sign of them around where she was laying. There was a cow with milk and no baby bellowing out in the pasture, but no where near where we found the baby. She doesn't have any energy to put her back out there anyway. I had some PennG in the fridge so she got a shot of it and some Tylenol (DH's gpa's suggestion). Had to force her to drink some milk - no interest in suckling at all :( , but at least she's had a little something.

Any thoughts? I am mentally prepared for her to not make it, and we are making sure the kids are aware of that as well (no naming her yet!!). Trying to figure this out as we go... DH's gpa has had cows for years, but I don't think he does much for actually taking care of them. Pretty hands off in that sense.

__________ Sat Jan 28, 2017 3:14 pm __________

calf.jpg
calf.jpg (229.76 KiB) Viewed 1776 times


__________ Sat Jan 28, 2017 4:25 pm __________

DH's gpa came back with another antibiotic and Pepto Bismol :lol: . He told me to get some Ensure for her, just to try and get some energy for her. He thinks more than anything she's just weak. She got up and walked around a little, checking out her area, sniffing at the walls and hay. Very very wobbly... but still, she was up!

__________ Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:17 am __________

Good news!! This morning she was up, prancing around, bellowing all the way... mama cow was answering from the back. She also (mostly) willingly drank a bottle - I went out with .5 liters since yesterday we were lucky to dribble some down her throat. I tried a new position (thank you youtube!) and she fought me a little, then drained it. Made another liter or so, gone! 2 more liters? Drained. Then she chased my girls around with her tongues out making sucking noises :lol: then she found my boot and was sucking on it. Her and mama were calling back and forth and I could tell she had made her way around form the barn to just behind us. I tried carrying her out to mama, but my body collapsed so the kids got DH and he got her the rest of the way there. Same cow I saw out toward us yesterday, so my suspicions were correct. She seemed to accept her just fine so we watched as they went through the pasture together. Jury is still out as to whether or not she'll let her nurse - we saw her latch on once, then mama moved away. Maybe she's too full and it hurts? We'll go track them down this afternoon and see how she's doing. At least she had 3+ liters in her belly to get her through. If mama won't feed her, we'lll bring her back and keep up with the bottles.
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Re: Bottle feeding a calf??

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Nymphadora » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:28 am


Good job, heritage! Looks like a real cutie, hopefully she grows strong and healthy!
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Re: Bottle feeding a calf??

Post Number:#7  Unread postby alforddm » Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:21 am


Sounds like you did a great job. I'd maybe that the cow is too full at this point. If she continues to refuse the calls got might try putting the cow in a working shoot and milking her out a bit.

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Re: Bottle feeding a calf??

Post Number:#8  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:09 am


alforddm wrote:Sounds like you did a great job. I'd maybe that the cow is too full at this point. If she continues to refuse the calls got might try putting the cow in a working shoot and milking her out a bit.


I went out last night and it looked like 2 of the teats might have gone down... I can't get near the mom, and DH's gpa is pretty hands off so I think he would just prefer to have me bottle feed. We'll see. We're getting ready to head out and find her, make sure she's still up and at 'em. She kept up with the herd yesterday, so hopefully that's a good sign. I figured it was healthier for her to be with mom vs. formula... He was thoroughly convinced she was a twin and/or mom abandoned her. Knowing that she appeared to be searching for her the day before, and they were calling back and forth to each other again the next day I don't think she was abandoned. I don't know if she just wasn't able to get any milk, or if she was too sick and too weak to continue and mom couldn't find her. I know her breathing was awful when we first brought her in, and she was too weak to do anything. She couldn't stand up, she couldn't even hardly lift her head. I don't think a few Tbs of milk would change her that much in a matter of hours. I assume she had an infection of some sort that the antibiotics helped tackle and that's why there was such a marked difference in 24 hours.
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