Bottle Baby Questions

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Well-known member
Dec 26, 2003
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S. Central, TX
We had a heifer calve last Saturday and it just so happens that she hates her baby. We had hopes that mama just needed some isolation time to bond with the calf, but 4 days later, no luck. We had been running her into the chute for the calf to nurse twice daily, but it didn't seem that mama was producing a lot of milk, so decided that maybe supplimenting with a bottle would be a good course with the hopes that mama would eventually accept her calf . Even though she's a heifer, and their bodies sometimes don't quite seem to be in synch sometimes, she was starting to be a danger to the calf as the calf more aggressively sought to nurse when mama wasn't in the chute. Ok, so she's hitting the road, but our concern at this point is her baby. Its 105 out here, and even though the pen is nice and shady, its still blinking hot and I wonder about hydration. She's not dehydrated at all, but it doesn't seem like 1 bottle twice daily puts enough liquid or nutrition into her. She seems awfully hungry after her bottle. So, after re-reading MilkMaid's Bottle Calves for Newbies post, my question is, would it be ok to suppliment a bottle at noon? Or, could I break the amount of milk replacer she's supposed to ge in one day up into 3 feedings? For example, if she's getting 2 cups of milk replacer total each day in 4 quarts of water, could I distribute that 2 cups into say 6 quarts of water so she's getting 3 bottles per day, but with the same amount of replacer as 2 bottles would contain? (just more water per day)
Personally I wouldn't mess around with how you mix the milk replacer. Give him his two bottles a day and if you feel he needs more give him half a bottle at noon, but stick to the mixing instructions on the label. Its more important that you get him started on calf starter as soon as possible than to give extra milk replacer.

A bottle calf will always want more after a feeding, doesn't matter how much you feed them.
Thanks KNERSIE, I did give her a bottle of water at noon just to make sure she stays hydrated and do have starter out there for her as well. I've been picking up a handfull of feed and putting some of it in her mouth after her bottle hoping she'll get the idea that it goes down just as good as milk does. When do they typically taste feed and hay? I mean, she's 4 days old, is it reasonable to expect her to experiment with it at around a week old like natural calves do? I'm also thinking that with only two bottles a day, a little hunger and thirst might drive her to drink water from the trough and taste some feed.
A 4 day calf is still a baby..Just like in human babies if you water down their formula you get serious issues as well as countless others that could become life threatening.

I would feed it 3 times a day, 3 pints each feeding and follow label directions for the age of the calf ..Increase slowly as calf grows, the more they want and can handle the more you give them. But do it responsibly. I really do not expect a 4 day old calf to eat calf starter, nibble leafy green hay maybe, but that is young for them to like the starter. Also make sure you are using all milk replaceer and have fresh water available at all times.
I would seperate her from the cow, give her 2 bottles a day and have a good calf starter grain and WATER available to her at all times.
dun":z3mwe0tp said:
I would seperate her from the cow, give her 2 bottles a day and have a good calf starter grain and WATER available to her at all times.
New babies we gave 3 bottles a day for a few weeks. But Dun has hit the nail on the head. Have some water at an accessable level for her. Ours were in the back yard so they shared the dogs water bucket :lol:
Thanks for all the replies ya'll. She seems to be doing really well. We upped her to 3 bottles a day, and that seems to fit her better than just two did. She still wants more, but isn't as adament about it for as long after her bottle is finished as she was.

Rest assured fresh, clean, accessible water and calf starter are available to her at all time, as is some yummy smelling, fresh clean coastal has all the other cows drooling at it on the other side of the fence. Heck, it smells so good, it makes ME want some! She's not convinced of either the hay or the grain yet, but I keep shoving a handful of grain in her mouth after her bottle hoping she'll catch on. Knock on wood, so far so good....its just so darned HOT outside now for her......or for anyone for that matter!
We are unable to feed 3 times a day due to schedules. The bottle baby we have right now (1/2 longhorn, 1/2 baldie) was getting a gallon in the morning and a gallon in the evening by the time he was a week old. I figure if they want it, give it to 'em. Does get spendy though. He is now 3 months old, he only gets 2 quarts per feeding but eats calf manna and hay as well. He didn't get any colostrum at birth, by the way. Healthy, happy, and bigger than most of his siblings. Like I said, the only down side was cost,...that stuff is getting expensive.

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