? about dairy calves

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Well-known member
Oct 22, 2008
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Marianna Arkansas (East Central)
Something I have always wanted to know, since calves are taken off at day old how do you raise replacement heifers and bulls? Every bottle feed calf I've ever had was not keeping quality. Another question is if I had a Jersey how would I know how many calves I could put on her and still get enough milk for the house but not have to milk her every day? Just random questions on a bored night, thanks.
Replacement heifers are reared by hand feeding,using either a bucket, bottle or automatic calf rearer depending on the individual dairy operation. Again depending on the individual dairy operation calves can be fed a ration of powdered milk, fresh, milk or a combination of both, from about 1-2 days old they will have access to fresh water, 20% protein calf pellet & straw ad lib.
House cows are another matter entirly, a 1st calf heifer will usually only have enough milk to raise 1 calf + yourself as you need the milk. Some cows will easily rear 4 calves at a time than back to 1 or 2 depending on lactation stage. When you are wanting house milk lock the calf(s) up the night before so they can't feed off the cow you are going to milk. Once you have all the milk you need, let the calves go with the cow again.
If a bottle calf from keeping quality parents isn;t keeping quality it's the managment of raising of the calf that is at fault. Too often the proper and increasing plain of nutrition that is required in a bottle calf isn;t provided.
if the calf had its clostrum an was real healthy.i could raise it to milking age.now mind you doing that isnt cheap.i always liked to have them eating 6lbs of grain an 2 bottles a day.an then wean them at 3 months old.as said a 1st calf heifer will only raise her calf plus give you house milk to drink.an next year she might raise her calf plus 1 or 2 more an give you house milk.
Some dairy operators just don't like to mess with raising replacements. They'll sell all the baby calves and then go to the dairy sale and buy replacements. For me raising calves was one of the hardest, longest, drawn out job on the dairy and you could lose the whole project overnight. The good dairies will usually let the calf nurse the cow 2-3 days....long enough to get plenty of colustrum and strength and then sell it or pen it and bottle feed it. Three day old heifer calves can bring $500-650 a head...bull calves...pretty much worthless, so many would rather take the bird in hand and worry about buying replacements latter. We raised everything except the occasional "slug" that would come along and it would be sold. Feeding routine was 1 bottle of milk morning and night, right out of the pipeline in the barn. No milk replacer. 18% protein calf starter and fresh water made available from day one. Raised in the little igloo houses adn would use a cattle panel in front of each for a little "front yard" for the calf. These would be moved to a new location every other day and the soiled areas sprayed, more or less sterilized and allowed to dry. Calves were weaned at 6 weeks at the earliest and eating 2-2.5 lbs. of calf starter per day. My wife did all the calf raising as women are just better at it. Last year we dairied she had 3 calves out of over 500 die. But she literally lived with them and would notice the slightest change in eyes, ears, manure, etc.
hey bro if ya raised 500 calves an only lost 3 why did you quit milking.i sure wish i could go back in time.an i wouldnt have sold out.
bigbull338":23at2y4o said:
hey bro if ya raised 500 calves an only lost 3 why did you quit milking.i sure wish i could go back in time.an i wouldnt have sold out.

BB...heck I would have lost half of them...but the wife was awesome at raising calves. As for dairying. I just flat burned out. Kids grew up and they hardly knew me. Half my life went by and I missed it....Still miss it but won't ever go back.
you never really get over not milking cows.my dad had us boys all working in the barn.so we always got to see him.an when the neices was born their dad raised them in the barn as well.i usually got stuck with the weekend watching over the weekend milker.

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