• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

Bottle Calf vs Bucket Calf

Cowgirl-Ryuk

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2008
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Location
Cali
I’ve been raising calves for the past 5 years with my local FFA and 4-H and I’ve always bottle fed. I’ve been told that bottle feeding is better for the calves since its as close to nursing off mom as they can get and while they suck on the bottle and foam the whole while, that its making the bacteria in their gut work over time which in the long run is better for ruminate development. But this past season one of my friends switched her bottle calf to a bucket calf and he turned out really well and actually ended up eatting more grain after he was switched to the bucket as opposed to feeding from a bottle. The amount of milk replacer didn't change, just the method of feeding.

I know sometimes it’s just a preference thing but I just wanted to hear some opinions, experiences, and really see if there is that much of a difference between bottle and bucket feeding.
 

larryshoat

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Messages
3,475
Reaction score
0
Location
Ohio
We currently use bottles, but a friend of mine uses buckets and gets along just as well .

Larry
 

angie1

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
Messages
4,179
Reaction score
0
Location
minnesota
Oh good ~ I made it here before dun! :clap: It explains in Storeys book why bottle feeding is better for the calf. There is a physical reason for it. Right now what it is escapes me, but I know its there. :help: Anyhow, I bottle feed. NOT because it is more convenient ~ its not. Its better for them. I think Keren explains this well, but she is not here yet.
 

KNERSIE

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
7,058
Reaction score
0
Location
3rd World
angie":3oez806x said:
Oh good ~ I made it here before dun! :clap: It explains in Storeys book why bottle feeding is better for the calf. There is a physical reason for it. Right now what it is escapes me, but I know its there. :help: Anyhow, I bottle feed. NOT because it is more convenient ~ its not. Its better for them. I think Keren explains this well, but she is not here yet.

In laymen's terms the sucking reflex causes an esophagal tube to form bypassing the rumen and going directly to the correct stomach (omasum I think) to be digested. You tend to get more potbellies with bucket calves than with bottle calves in my experience. All eventually come over it with time and nutrition.

Bucket calves is usually easier to get started on calf starter as they will want to lick the bucket and you can just throw some pellets in just before the bucket is empty.
 

Angus Cowman

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2008
Messages
7,157
Reaction score
0
Location
the Great State of Mental Distress ( Florida)
years ago when I was a kid i raised several bottle calves after the second yr I switched to buckets with nipples on them because it was faster and it seemed to work really well

I never used a reg bucket and had them drink from it

one yr I switched to Moor-Mans cold milk replacer and it made things alot easier I mixed the MR 20 gallons at a time and had nipples hooked to a barrel by a hose and the calves nurse when they wanted the only thing it did cost more but the calves did great
 

LoveMoo11

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Messages
1,090
Reaction score
0
Location
Maine
KNERSIE":15mfq4t2 said:
angie":15mfq4t2 said:
Oh good ~ I made it here before dun! :clap: It explains in Storeys book why bottle feeding is better for the calf. There is a physical reason for it. Right now what it is escapes me, but I know its there. :help: Anyhow, I bottle feed. NOT because it is more convenient ~ its not. Its better for them. I think Keren explains this well, but she is not here yet.

In laymen's terms the sucking reflex causes an esophagal tube to form bypassing the rumen and going directly to the correct stomach (omasum I think) to be digested. You tend to get more potbellies with bucket calves than with bottle calves in my experience. All eventually come over it with time and nutrition.

Bucket calves is usually easier to get started on calf starter as they will want to lick the bucket and you can just throw some pellets in just before the bucket is empty.

I'm not sure if this is correct or not, but according to one of my Hoard's books, all liquids go directly to the reticulum anyways, no matter how they are ingested. I think most people bucket feed out of convenience, especially on dairy farms. The calves usually take to bottle feeding better of course, but I don't think it makes a huge difference in their growth or people wouldn't switch to bucket feeding.
 

hillsdown

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Messages
9,925
Reaction score
0
Location
Alberta, Canada
Bottle is better.

I think it is because of the esophageal groove ????it goes to their true stomach and is readily digested..Or something like that ,as all others have posted.. :)

We dairied and all were fed a bottle, it is easier to continue feeding a bottle than try to train them on a bucket at three days old ; but we did it for nutritional issues. Dairies here in central Alberta ,90 percent bottle feed ,it is also more hygienic to have the calves separated and sterilize bottles/nipples after each feeding, which we did and I still do as well one I have the occasional bottle calf,,,the sterilizing bottles that is .. :cboy:
 

VtMapleGal

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 28, 2007
Messages
181
Reaction score
0
Location
Vermont
I am currently raising 2 jersey steer calfs for a client of mine who only eats jersey meat (beats me lol), 1 was bucket fed and 1 was bottle fed. They are about 4 weeks apart in age, and the bottle fed calf is much bigger, much stronger and the bucket fed calf is pot bellied. One disadvantage i have found to bottle feeding is the damn calf wants to suck on everything, but that may just be him.
 

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
1
Location
MO Ozarks
I know this gets drug out everytime there is a question about bucket or bottle. I guess the dairymen that I know and have known in the past are raising a bunch of potbellied poor doing cows. I've only known of a handfull of dairys that keep the calves on a bottle. I don;t know of any that are raising poor quality replacements. There was one behind us that raised crappy heifers and they were bottle fed. If he would have left them on the cow they still would have been crappy.
 

Nesikep

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 13, 2008
Messages
15,992
Reaction score
62
Location
Lillooet, BC, Canada
a calf who's bottle fed will always want to suck on everything... the good part of that is you can lead them whereever you want them to go, just with 2 fingers.. the downside is every rope or twine there is will be eaten...

when we have a calf to bottle feed, it will usually be bottled the first month or so, then switched over to a bucket, which is no easy task (they have to learn not to inhale).. we are not a dairy, and don't keep bottle fed calves for breeding anyhow... we usually run a market garden operation with 3 people, so our time is very limited, and for us the cows are there for the manure, and we accept that they will just always be a loss...
 

Cowgirl-Ryuk

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2008
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Location
Cali
I just wanted to thank everyone who gave their input, I truly do appreciate it. :D
I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!!
 
Top