4 day old calf will not suck

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devonian

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Hi there we had a calf born on the 1st of the month in the field that I suspected hadn't nursed so we brought it into a shed with the mother and it simply will not suck from the mother. I tubed it some colostrum on the 2nd and that didn't go overly smoothly it panicked near the end. I've tried bottle feeding it but it will not take, its like it cannot physically suck. So after searching around online I heard of one trick which was to open up the hole on the end of the teat so effectively you are pouring milk into the calf, I did this on an older feeding bottle we have. This sort of works but is incredibly slow and I can only seem to get about a litre down it at best per feeding its pretty frustrating it seems to snort and reject it after a short while. I've checked its temp and its ok at 38.7 C and I been giving it probiotics (which I swear by) so no diarrhea and it has access to water but other than that I have no idea what to do its still relatively agile but just doesn't seem to be able to suck as I said. Does anyone have any ideas of what I can do going forward?
 

Hoover

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First things first, will it suck on you finger?
What’s the temperature of the mouth? If cool or cold get some draxxin.
Have you simply tried bucket feeding the milk?

My jersey calved Saturday, yesterday the calf was drinking the milk out of a bucket just fine
 

TCRanch

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It could be a "dummy calf" and even at 4 days old, might benefit from the Madigan Squeeze (and there are lots of videos online).
Check its mouth to make sure it doesn't have a cleft palate.
Try a goat nipple.
Get mama in the chute to make sure she doesn't have mastitis.
If it won't suck at all, continue to drench or it will starve.
 

Buck Randall

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I'll second the Madigan squeeze technique. I've had good luck with it. Don't expect it to work immediately, and don't try to force the calf to suck if he's not interested.

You got some really bad advice about cutting open the bottle nipple. Trying to pour milk down a calf that doesn't suck is a sure way to kill them with pneumonia. If the calf absolutely can't suck, some times they can learn to drink from a pail. Start with a shallow pan that they can nose around the bottom without submerging their nostrils.
 
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devonian

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First things first, will it suck on you finger?
What’s the temperature of the mouth? If cool or cold get some draxxin.
Have you simply tried bucket feeding the milk?

My jersey calved Saturday, yesterday the calf was drinking the milk out of a bucket just fine
No it doesn't suck your finger. Not tried bucket feeding yet. And to Murray mutts I guess thats possible but I did observe it for a long time on serevral occasions in the field and it was trying to find the teat but not latching on and also the mothers teats aren't totally clean and the calf is quite thin so theres a few indicators suggesting it hasn't nursed.
 
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devonian

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I'll second the Madigan squeeze technique. I've had good luck with it. Don't expect it to work immediately, and don't try to force the calf to suck if he's not interested.

You got some really bad advice about cutting open the bottle nipple. Trying to pour milk down a calf that doesn't suck is a sure way to kill them with pneumonia. If the calf absolutely can't suck, some times they can learn to drink from a pail. Start with a shallow pan that they can nose around the bottom without submerging their nostrils.
That Madigan squeeze sounds totally bizzare, doing that for twenty minutes sounds like tortue. Why would pouring milk into a calf give them pneumonia? I started doing that because I didn't want to keep stomach tubing it because I heard that could lead to acidosis.
 

MurraysMutts

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That Madigan squeeze sounds totally bizzare, doing that for twenty minutes sounds like tortue. Why would pouring milk into a calf give them pneumonia? I started doing that because I didn't want to keep stomach tubing it because I heard that could lead to acidosis.
Because it floods em.
Gets in the lungs.

If it's a small breed calf, I've had em only take half what a normal calf would take. And sometimes they will only latch on one teat for several days.

I'm sure you know what normal is, for your animals and that's why your here asking.

Do you have them penned together for a while to observe?

Stick with it my friend. Stop pouring the milk tho. And the cut open nipple is not a great idea
 
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devonian

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But still, what does the temp in the mouth feel like?
The mouth temp is warm and no cleft palate. Body temp now 39.6 c (has been in sun in yard most of day). One of the cows teats looks a little cleaner now so I'm wondering if it has had a suck now. Its possible I may have acted too hastily but this cow is only 4 years old and lost her calf in the previous two years with last year it seems like she just abandoned it, so I guess I didn't want to take any chances. Still not a 100% convinced I'm in the clear now guess I'll have to closely monitor it and hope for the best.
 

Hoover

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Good to hear, we have learned with iffy calves, always check the mouth, slightest bit of coolness and we act fast with draxxin
 

Hpacres440p

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The mouth temp is warm and no cleft palate. Body temp now 39.6 c (has been in sun in yard most of day). One of the cows teats looks a little cleaner now so I'm wondering if it has had a suck now. Its possible I may have acted too hastily but this cow is only 4 years old and lost her calf in the previous two years with last year it seems like she just abandoned it, so I guess I didn't want to take any chances. Still not a 100% convinced I'm in the clear now guess I'll have to closely monitor it and hope for the best.
She may need an occupational change after she raises (or doesn’t) this calf.
 

jltrent

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Had a set of twins a couple days ago and I thought everything was good. So went to check yesterday closer and one had not nursed. I put it in the barn and gave it a bag of 1st milk as it would not suck and today it is still going. The next couple days will be crucial if it makes it or not. If it makes it I would like to get it back to mama as fast as possible. It takes a lot of patients with baby calves.
 

MurraysMutts

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I would definitely keep em penned up a day or three. And monitor!

I'd also be tugging on them teats and making sure there is milk. Had one several years ago only had milk in one spigot and it was not good milk.

Calf will give up after it ain't getting anything.
My last issue was sausage teats. Calf wouldn't/couldn't get the big fat teat in its mouth. I watched it try and try and try the start to grazing as a newborn.
Got the cow up and the calf started on her after milking a bit to be sure they wore working. Young cow too.
She raised it. No issues the next Calf. But she brought good money as a pair. Friend bought it knowing her issue. Last Calf for her.
 
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devonian

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She may need an occupational change after she raises (or doesn’t) this calf.
Yeah maybe makin burgers or somethin
Had a set of twins a couple days ago and I thought everything was good. So went to check yesterday closer and one had not nursed. I put it in the barn and gave it a bag of 1st milk as it would not suck and today it is still going. The next couple days will be crucial if it makes it or not. If it makes it I would like to get it back to mama as fast as possible. It takes a lot of patients with baby calves.
Good luck we had a set of twins a couple months ago (bull and heifer calve) and the cow abandoned the bull calf thinking it wasn't hers, we penned them up in the hope she would eventually accept it but she so didn't so we had to sell it.

I would definitely keep em penned up a day or three. And monitor!

I'd also be tugging on them teats and making sure there is milk. Had one several years ago only had milk in one spigot and it was not good milk.

Calf will give up after it ain't getting anything.
My last issue was sausage teats. Calf wouldn't/couldn't get the big fat teat in its mouth. I watched it try and try and try the start to grazing as a newborn.
Got the cow up and the calf started on her after milking a bit to be sure they wore working. Young cow too.
She raised it. No issues the next Calf. But she brought good money as a pair. Friend bought it knowing her issue. Last Calf for her.
She had milk the other day in one teat when we put her in the crush, will monitor..
 

Cindy

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That Madigan squeeze sounds totally bizzare, doing that for twenty minutes sounds like tortue. Why would pouring milk into a calf give them pneumonia? I started doing that because I didn't want to keep stomach tubing it because I heard that could lead to acidosis.
The squeeze has saved countless lives human as well as animals.
 

sunnyblueskies

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Something totally different. What does the cow do when the calf tries to find the teat. Does she stand still? Does she kick? If the calf tried a few times too many in the first days and she didn't stand still and kept kicking....... it just won't try anymore.
Personally, I would keep them locked up, put her in the squeeze twice a day, try to get the calf to suck twice a day. It's a pain in the ass and time consuming, but I'd rather do that for a few days (if she has milk) then bottle feed it.
If it still doesn't suck on her when you work with them, drench it. At least then you know it has a good amount of fluid in it.
I'm a bit suspicious though of the cow, you say she had problems the last 2 years with her calves, or the calves with her. Probably not a coincidence you are having a problem with the calf this year.
Check out that milkbag and what comes out of it............ may be the key to the whole thing.
Good luck, it's maddening when calves don't want to feed, but we're suckers for dealing with cows and their offspring. =)
 

debbiea

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No it doesn't suck your finger. Not tried bucket feeding yet. And to Murray mutts I guess thats possible but I did observe it for a long time on serevral occasions in the field and it was trying to find the teat but not latching on and also the mothers teats aren't totally clean and the calf is quite thin so theres a few indicators suggesting it hasn't nursed.
1st wash cows udder very good, it may look clean, but isn't. Get the calf up there and stick the tit in his mouth and work his jaws easy hopefully he will get the idea. Give him a shot of selenium. Don't give up, good luck
 

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