Bottle Calf - worry about predators @ night

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ksmit454

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I have a 7 week old bottle calf b&w face heifer. She is getting big and being turned out during the day with my other cows/calves. I am still locking her up in the barn at night because we do have coyotes and mountain lions in our area. She sticks with the herd really well during the day. I worry because she doesn’t have a mama cow to protect her that she may be easier prey. Do you think at 7 weeks old she’s ok to leave out at night with the other cows/calves?
 

MurraysMutts

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Hard to say. I starting leaving Seven (my bottle heifer) out overnight but cant remember when. I never had any issues.
Biggest issue I had was getting her up in the mornings for the bottle. Many times I'd have to walk out and find her. Kept a bell on her. That helped tremendously finding her
 

TCRanch

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My first preemie was orphaned at 9 weeks. That morning when I came down to the barn & found my dead mama, the majority of the herd was there, surrounding the calf. They knew. Against my better judgment, I let them bring her up with the rest of the herd. And yet, when I would do morning checks before they went off to graze for the day, she was always in the middle of the herd. There was always a mama cow watching over her. Side note: she's due with her 9th calf in a few weeks!

We have coyotes and there are a few mountain lions in the area, but (knock wood) I've never lost a calf to a predator. Trust your gut. If you're not comfortable letting her join the herd right now, don't until she's older - because she does need socialization.
 

Ky hills

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That's one of those judgement calls, that I would say to go on the side of caution if there is any doubt. We have lost calves in the past to coyotes, so even though most of our cows are pretty protective we still worry about it. We usually don't turn our bottle calves out very far until several months of age just in case.
 

MurraysMutts

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And if you do.....

Do it in the morning first!
So she can explore a bit during daylight hours and not accidentally get lost.

Edit... just re-read your first post. D'oh!
I'll never turn anything out after noon again.
 
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ksmit454

ksmit454

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She is 8 weeks old this week and I’m still leery of letting her stay out at night. Thankfully the cows are only on 10 acres so she’s not difficult to find for feedings and she follows me right to the barn to be locked in her stall at night. I just sleep better knowing that she won’t be someone’s dinner. I think I’ll wait until she’s a bit older, maybe 12 weeks old.
 

Dsth

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as long as you are content with the way things are going their is no reason to change. better safe than sorry. last summer, I was in view of my cows and calves grazing in the pasture. all of a sudden I noticed practically all the calves suddenly run towards the cows and cows all with heads up and seemed to group together. next thing I seen was a coyote run across the field. calves were about 6 months old at the time.
 

FarmerShell

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I'd say do what you feel comfortable with and what works for you.
Most calfs should be okay but it's a tough call. Nobody can say 100% the calf would be safe. Nor could we say it's un safe.
We have an orphan we let her in with the other after 4 weeks. The cows beat her up some. Even now she is a year old the cows don't except her. They will roll her from time to time. Right now we keep her in another field by herself. She is happy. Sometimes she goes back with the other cows. The mini horse goes back and forth between the field with the cows and with just "Chevy " our orphan. Naynay and Chevy lets us know if they want be lone or with the cows. Chevy is still really small, she does good solo. Plus she can get more feed being alone.
In the beginning our mother cow Sky got very mad if we messed with Chevy. She didn't understand why we would be messing with a calf and where the mother was.

MurraysMutt's I love the name Seven. My friend has a mini horse Seven. ❤💯
 

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