3-week-old heifer calf doesn't want bottle

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Anonymous

Okay, I tried the beginner's board but got no response as of yet, so I'm going to try this board!<p>After never having cattle before, I now have two 3-week-old heifer calves and one 5-week-old bull calf, red Brangus, which we bought through an arrangement with a friend who works at a feed lot (never again!). The calves all spent a short time with their mothers. The bull calf and one heifer calf are doing well. The other heifer calf is a bit of a pill. After my vet came and gave me a crash course in calves, I successfully brought her out of critical-stage scours by drenching gel electrolytes and milk replacer according to his directions and injecting Naxcel twice a day x 5 days. She now willingly eats calf grain and alfalfa hay, and she grazes on the dry pasture in the enclosure we keep the calves in during the day, but she will only take about a 1/4 bottle of milk replacer with a lot of struggle on her part and mine. I enlarged the hole in the nipple so she can just swallow as the milk trickles into her mouth, but she gets congested and hacks a lot. I let up when she hacks, so I know I am not drowning her. After the ordeal is over, she stands, usually in a corner, with her head down and sulks for a while. This happens morning and night.<p>My vet did say the sooner I got her on solid foot, the better she'd fare, so should I continue the struggle of bottle feeding her, or should I let her wean herself, which is exactly what she seems to be doing? I know her rumen needs time to develop, and I know in a perfect world she shouldn't be weaned yet, but at what point do I give in and let her be the happy calf she seems to be when the bottle isn't in her mouth? <p>I would greatly appreciate a little help with this dilemma!
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Anonymous

Have you thought of feeding her out of a pail instead of a bottle--if she'll suck your fingers, gently pull her head down to the milk then just enough in so that she sucks in milk and not breathes it in! If she won't, she's still a bit young to receive adequate nutrition from grain/grazing etc since her rumen is not fully developed.
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Anonymous

Tried the pail route without success; she won't suck on my fingers, and she won't drink the milk. She will drink water out of a bucket, but not milk. I even tried adding a little molasses to the milk replacer - no go. Anything else I can try?<p><br>: Have you thought of feeding her out of a pail instead of a bottle--if she'll suck your fingers, gently pull her head down to the milk then just enough in so that she sucks in milk and not breathes it in! If she won't, she's still a bit young to receive adequate nutrition from grain/grazing etc since her rumen is not fully developed.<p>
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Anonymous

Jennifer,<br>Is there a dairy farm near you? If so, you might buy some milk from the dairy and try that with your calf. I don't know if that will work or not, but it's worth a try. Good luck with her and let us know how she does.
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OP
A

Anonymous

(User Above)":njs7zcz5 said:
: Okay, I tried the beginner's board but got no response as of yet, so I'm going to try this board!<p>: After never having cattle before, I now have two 3-week-old heifer calves and one 5-week-old bull calf, red Brangus, which we bought through an arrangement with a friend who works at a feed lot (never again!). The calves all spent a short time with their mothers. The bull calf and one heifer calf are doing well. The other heifer calf is a bit of a pill. After my vet came and gave me a crash course in calves, I successfully brought her out of critical-stage scours by drenching gel electrolytes and milk replacer according to his directions and injecting Naxcel twice a day x 5 days. She now willingly eats calf grain and alfalfa hay, and she grazes on the dry pasture in the enclosure we keep the calves in during the day, but she will only take about a 1/4 bottle of milk replacer with a lot of struggle on her part and mine. I enlarged the hole in the nipple so she can just swallow as the milk trickles into her mouth, but she gets congested and hacks a lot. I let up when she hacks, so I know I am not drowning her. After the ordeal is over, she stands, usually in a corner, with her head down and sulks for a while. This happens morning and night.<p>: My vet did say the sooner I got her on solid foot, the better she'd fare, so should I continue the struggle of bottle feeding her, or should I let her wean herself, which is exactly what she seems to be doing? I know her rumen needs time to develop, and I know in a perfect world she shouldn't be weaned yet, but at what point do I give in and let her be the happy calf she seems to be when the bottle isn't in her mouth? <p>: I would greatly appreciate a little help with this dilemma!<p>
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


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OP
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Anonymous

(User Above)":3txfcsom said:
: Jennifer,<br>You will probably never get that calf to suck; it probably WAS NOT with it's mother, therefore it got no colustrum within the first 8-24 hours and will never develop the nurcing urge. The only answer I know is to "tube it." BEEN THERE-DONE THAT and brought them through after the vets said I was wasting time and money!! Didn't know reason until watching tapes on goat raising when I got gome brush goats to clear up some thickets on the place. Since a lot of immune system is passed on with first nurcings, standby for other multi-problems, as well as a dogie. Good luck, you'll need it!<p>
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