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Bottle calf to out with the herd

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MarieB

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We had our first bottle calf this year. He has been very spoiled sleeping in a garage at night and in a garden in the day.
He has been around kids and a dog. But not around a herd ever. We just now brought him to our place. So he is now outside and next to a couple of steers that we are feeding out. But does anyone have a suggestions on how to introduce him to the herd out at the ranch? Will he even stay with them and figure out how to eat grass?
 

Ky hills

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We had a bottle calf this year, that was kept around the barn, he had some grass in the lot and so he learned that fairly early. He was able to see other cattle when they came up around the barn, but he actually did bond with the dog, they became big buddies. When we turned him out, it was with a group of weaning calves about his age, it took him a while to bond with them. He stayed to himself for a while, then eventually started moving with the group. He still would visit with the dog after coming in to eat.

Not knowing what the situation is, I would just recommend to supplement the bottle calf with some feed just in case he is to be turned out with cows or larger animals, he may still need some special attention to make sure he is getting adequate nutrition.
 

Txpiney

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How old is "he", I assume it's a steer? Has he been on feed awhile? How much does he weigh? :welcome: to the boards.
 

ALACOWMAN

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Best to keep a eye on him..I've seen em die shortly after being kicked out With the herd.... But the grazing part comes natural..but don't know how he'll fare at a hay bale,,being knocked around or stepped on
 

dun

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Once a bottle calf is conditioned to coming to the bottle when it's called we always turn them out with the herd. That way they learn they are cows but still get the milk they need unless/until one of the cows adopts them. If one days and she doesn;t have a lot of milk keep feeding it the bottle at least once a day
 
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MarieB

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Txpiney":1y6a8lla said:
How old is "he", I assume it's a steer? Has he been on feed awhile? How much does he weigh? :welcome: to the boards.
He is a steer. Weighs about 350-400. Been fed grain and hay for awhile now. Almost down to one bottle at night. He's 3.5 months old.
Just not sure what to do with him now. Afraid he won't do well once we take him to the ranch
 
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MarieB

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Ky hills":3t8of8gy said:
We had a bottle calf this year, that was kept around the barn, he had some grass in the lot and so he learned that fairly early. He was able to see other cattle when they came up around the barn, but he actually did bond with the dog, they became big buddies. When we turned him out, it was with a group of weaning calves about his age, it took him a while to bond with them. He stayed to himself for a while, then eventually started moving with the group. He still would visit with the dog after coming in to eat.

Not knowing what the situation is, I would just recommend to supplement the bottle calf with some feed just in case he is to be turned out with cows or larger animals, he may still need some special attention to make sure he is getting adequate nutrition.
The problem is the ranch that are cows are at is not where we can keep an eye on him very easy. It's in the mountains. We are feeding twice a week right now. But our cows cover a lot of ground and he's never been around them before.
 
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MarieB

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ALACOWMAN":3ipoq18h said:
Best to keep a eye on him..I've seen em die shortly after being kicked out With the herd.... But the grazing part comes natural..but don't know how he'll fare at a hay bale,,being knocked around or stepped on
That's what I'm afraid of. Not so much getting to the food. We spread that out all over. But more will he even stay with the herd?
 
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MarieB

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dun":97zsj0aj said:
Once a bottle calf is conditioned to coming to the bottle when it's called we always turn them out with the herd. That way they learn they are cows but still get the milk they need unless/until one of the cows adopts them. If one days and she doesn;t have a lot of milk keep feeding it the bottle at least once a day
What would you do if you couldn't just send them out with the herd?
I guess we could have taken him out to our herd and went there a couple of times a day to feed him. But that would have taken hours with how our field is. I'm trying to figure it out for the future also in case it happens again. I know our setup is different than most.
We lease a ranch that is in the mountains. So we don't always see all our cattle each time we go out
 

dun

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MarieB":zvdoh6fa said:
dun":zvdoh6fa said:
Once a bottle calf is conditioned to coming to the bottle when it's called we always turn them out with the herd. That way they learn they are cows but still get the milk they need unless/until one of the cows adopts them. If one days and she doesn;t have a lot of milk keep feeding it the bottle at least once a day
What would you do if you couldn't just send them out with the herd?
I guess we could have taken him out to our herd and went there a couple of times a day to feed him. But that would have taken hours with how our field is. I'm trying to figure it out for the future also in case it happens again. I know our setup is different than most.
We lease a ranch that is in the mountains. So we don't always see all our cattle each time we go out
I would keep bottle feeding and gradually wean him then keep feeding him grain till he was big enough the butcher
 

Craig Miller

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What dun said might be best. If you can't do that then can you bring another cow or calf to him for a while? I've had them not join the herd at all
 

Ky hills

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":ndzsawo3 said:
Why not just ship him now? while he is healthy.

Under the circumstances mentioned, I second that idea as a good option, because the calf may or may not join the others and even if he does he is likely not going to maintain without some daily extra support.
 

farmerjan

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Have to agree with Jeanne and Ky Hills. The best option for the calf would be to sell him now when he is in good shape and before he has to try to learn to cope and probably go backwards. He won't grow good going from grain and hay to foraging for his own fee; and not being socialized with the herd and you not being able to feed or check up on him daily.
 

Cucumber35

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I had this same scenario, didn’t work so well. He took a long time to get accustomed to the herd and still stayed off to the side a lot. Didn’t grow very well at all just grazing either. I penned him up in the barn when I started feeding hay regular this winter because I knew he would get bullied at the feeder. Even with free choice 2nd cut hay and almost 10# of grain a day he isn’t growing much. I think I stunted him. Probably just going to ship him. I feel like he will eat me into the poor house before he gains enough to go in the freezer.
 

Fernowranch

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I agree with everyone put a halter and a bow around his neck.
sell him you'll be amazed what the bow will do
 

farmerjan

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Call the extension service in your area, or the county office, or a local vet or the 4H or FFA; and see if anyone is in need of a steer to show that is quiet and used to people. I am sure you could find him a good home and make some money instead of turning him out and maybe losing him because he is not acclimated.
 
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MarieB

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Thanks Everyone for the thoughts and input.
Has anyone sold a bottle calf for a 4H calf?
 

dun

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MarieB":z09aaae0 said:
Thanks Everyone for the thoughts and input.
Has anyone sold a bottle calf for a 4H calf?
Only as bottle calves for the fair. But here they still have to be on the bottle or just weaned in July.
 

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