Bottle fed calves

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lmp570

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i have only had to bottle feed 2 calves since i started in the biz 4 years ago, and one died, the others body condition turned out terrible.

by feeding 4 pints of milk replacement twice a day and 1 pint +/- of electrolyte/glucose mix... what are the odds that the calf will mature to be a solid mother and live a full life?
 

dun

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As long as you provide adequate grain and keep graining her through at lest 6-8 months then treat her like any other replacement heifer there is no reason she can;t or won;t turn out to her genetic potential.
 

hillsdown

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You also should be feeding a minimum of 6 pints twice a day when they are a month old, and be using an all milk replacer of at least 20-20-20.

Why the electrolytes ?
 
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lmp570

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i use the electrolytes b/c she still is very weak and not NEARLY as active as other nursing calves. it gives her a boost of energy i figures she needs. my whole problem is, her mothers udder is too big for the calf to nurse. im having to milk her mother, only getting 4-6 pints out of her, so i use the other supplements to compensate.
 

hillsdown

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OK but just so you know there is no feed value in electrolytes. If you do not have enough milk from mom buy a bag of replacer her and feed her 3 times a day instead of two. 3 pints am and pm and 2 pints for lunch. When she gets stronger are you going to put her back on mom ?
 
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lmp570

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hillsdown":y1n5gqml said:
OK but just so you know there is no feed value in electrolytes. If you do not have enough milk from mom buy a bag of replacer her and feed her 3 times a day instead of two. 3 pints am and pm and 2 pints for lunch. When she gets stronger are you going to put her back on mom ?

thanks ill try that schedule.

i would love for her to go back to her mother but shes 6 days old and her mothers udder is still too large for her calf to nurse. my fear is the calf will become so used to the bottle that she will loose interest in nursing from her mother. right??
 

hillsdown

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Not likely, usually it is mom that won't take the calf back but calves are born with the instinct to nurse from the udder. It would be worth a try but it is up to you. You should be OK with the calf as long as she had adequate colostrum when she was born.As much as she wants first feeding and then 4 pints for 3 more feedings..

Good luck and post a pic when you get a chance.. :)
 
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lmp570

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see thats the whole problem i believe and i forgot to mention it earlier. when she was born i was out of town and my farm hand was supposed 2 be keeping a close eye on her and he thought she was sucking, but she wasnt... she was just trying. the cows teat was too big for the calf to fit it in his mouth.

so she went 36 hours without adequate milk before i was able to get to the farm and see that she wasnt able to nurse at all. as soon as i saw she couldnt nurse, i began bottle feeding her and milking the cow.

so she DEFINEATLY didnt get adequate colostrum after birth.
 

hillsdown

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Well that is not good, I would give her a dose of vitamins B12 and A&D as well as selenium , I prefer orally rather than an injection. Just keep her in a clean area at all times ,hopefully she got some from mom when she was born as she was still alive thirty six hours later when you found her. Just watch her luck a hawk, and good luck.
 
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lmp570

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thanks hillsdown. ill check into that. anything else i can do to better this sitaution? ill try anything at this point. :help:

this afternoon when i fed she didnt take but 3 pints of her mothers milk. still VERY WEAK and UNMOTIVATED. i guess thats where the B vitamins wud come into play at.
 

angie1

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Just a thought ~ udder issues, like everything else, are genetic. You may want to reconsider raising her to be a "solid mother" in your herd or anothers. Good luck with the little thing, hope she picks up!
 

msscamp

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lmp570":35q8mrkm said:
hillsdown":35q8mrkm said:
OK but just so you know there is no feed value in electrolytes. If you do not have enough milk from mom buy a bag of replacer her and feed her 3 times a day instead of two. 3 pints am and pm and 2 pints for lunch. When she gets stronger are you going to put her back on mom ?

thanks ill try that schedule.

i would love for her to go back to her mother but shes 6 days old and her mothers udder is still too large for her calf to nurse. my fear is the calf will become so used to the bottle that she will loose interest in nursing from her mother. right??

Wrong. The calf's instinct is to nurse her mother. Unless you are supplementing her to the point that she is never hungry, or have seperated her from her mother, she will continue to try to nurse her mom when she gets hungry. As she gets older, she will be able to handle the bigger tits and will need less supplementation. I would continue to milk her mother, bottle the calf with that milk, forget the milk replacer unless the mother is poor milker, and wait for the day that the calf can handle the bottle tits. I would also ship the cow after she has raised this calf because this will be an ongoing problem.
 

Workinonit Farm

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lmp570":b7xb9gut said:
this afternoon when i fed she didnt take but 3 pints of her mothers milk. still VERY WEAK and UNMOTIVATED.

Just a longshot couple of questions. Does the calf have a fever? Have you checked her navel? Is her 'manure' normal looking?

I only ask because of the description of her being weak, unmotivated and sounds like she hasn't got much of an appetite.

Katherine
 
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lmp570

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GREAT NEWS! after i got the cow in the catcher, i brought the calf over to her and the calf started nursing! the cows udder is a fraction of the size it was 4 days ago. i wont be bottle feeding the calf unless i havent seen her nurse from her mother by mid-day tomarrow. not out of the woods yet though.

quick question... is it likely this is a genetic issue or is it a problem treatable with medication????? im assuming 50-50 chance either way.

Workinonit Farm":12agjbkj said:
lmp570":12agjbkj said:
this afternoon when i fed she didnt take but 3 pints of her mothers milk. still VERY WEAK and UNMOTIVATED.

Just a longshot couple of questions. Does the calf have a fever? Have you checked her navel? Is her 'manure' normal looking?

I only ask because of the description of her being weak, unmotivated and sounds like she hasn't got much of an appetite.

Katherine

not sure about the fever. a good farmer wouldve checked it i know. her navel seems normal and her manure looks typical... not runny & light colored.
 

Keren

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lmp570":1r9p9mpe said:
quick question... is it likely this is a genetic issue or is it a problem treatable with medication????? im assuming 50-50 chance either way.

Not exactly sure if you are asking about the mother's big udder or the calfs lethargy?

The big udder/teats will not improve, you will need to get rid of mum (once she has weaned this calf) unless you want to fiddle with the calves every year. The calf may well have the same issues when she gets older ... but if mum is an older cow who has had previous calves before with no problems, I see no reason why this calf shouldnt be kept as a breeder. Just cull her when her udder becomes a problem.

The calf's lethargy - more than likely is either lack of feed (milk) or a medical problem - infection etc which should be treatable with medication.
 
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lmp570

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havent visited the website in a while, so the update is past due.

i had to put down the calf. front leg joint was swelling and turned hard. had him on anit-biotics for 3 weeks then on steroids for 1 week, with minimal improvment. still weak and lame. only thing i can think of was that the navel got infected and i somehow missed it. i shouldve sprayed it with iodine, but thats a mistake i wont make again soon. i guess this was just an expensive lesson for an inexpierenced farmer.

ONE MORE THING... im still getting mixed messages on my question on the calves' mother. when the calf was born her udder was so big i had to milk her down several times so the calf could nurse. i would hate to cull her cuz she gives an excellant calf, so my question is, can she pass this disorder on to her heifer calves in the future or is it not genetic? any literature on this would be excellant! thanks ppl.
 

dun

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lmp570":3nfmm55k said:
ONE MORE THING... im still getting mixed messages on my question on the calves' mother. when the calf was born her udder was so big i had to milk her down several times so the calf could nurse. i would hate to cull her cuz she gives an excellant calf, so my question is, can she pass this disorder on to her heifer calves in the future or is it not genetic? any literature on this would be excellant! thanks ppl.

Based strictly on my own observations udder quality can be hereditary but it doesn;t really seem to be "very" heritable. I've seen bad udders pass from generation to generation and I've seen bad udders fixed in one generation. I think that teat size and shape may be more heritable then udder structure/suspension.
 

aussie_cowgirl

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For future reference, cracking an egg or 2 into their milk for the first few days is also a good way to pump some protein into them. I do it with my lambs. Since I have I haven't had one die.
 

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