calf behavior

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knowknews

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My char calf is about 5 weeks old now. After her bottle, she keeps trying to find more...she used to follow me around until she got tired, now she still follows me around, but when I stop, she trys to lick my leg and she butts me in the leg. Today she came from behind, stuck her head between my legs and butted me. :eek:

I can imagine a 1000 lb cow doing this and don't like the idea, the question is: what is this about-just her wanting more? If i let her do this to me will it continue or is this something she will outgrow? Personally I think it is a bad habit to let her get started doing. But don't want to smack her if that is too extreme and something she will outgrow.
 

OLF

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Normal behavior. After feeding her, leave her alone in the pen. Don't let her follow you around and don't make a pet out of her, that will be a problem later on.
 

Roadapple

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How much are you feeding her? At 5 wks. she needs more than just 2 bottles a day if that's all you are giving her.
 

hillsdown

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She is a bottle calf and that's what they do. When she is weened she will grow out of it, now is the time to halter train her, it will be handy when she is grown.

If you are using 6 pint bottles that is enough milk, if they are four pint bottles you can up it.

BTW I have a bred heifer that was bottle fed and if she sees me with a bottle to this day still comes running.
 

LoveMoo11

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Don't let her push you around, especially as she gets older, because she will keep doing it. Give her a good smack if she bunts you, etc. Its normal for her to nose around for more when she finishes eating, but you can't let her get away with being aggressive.
 
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knowknews

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Roadapple":1v99rkdh said:
How much are you feeding her? At 5 wks. she needs more than just 2 bottles a day if that's all you are giving her.

She gets 3 4-pint bottles per day. I offer her all the calf starter, hay and water she wants. She has to be in the barn to get the grain and hay. As she gets older, I plan on feeding her and the goats grain in the evening so that I will be able to get them in the barn and close it up for the night. Right now, she and the goats are still on the bottles and free choice on the grain, water, hay and grass.
 

farmwriter

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It's not excessive to give her a smack when she gets too friendly. If she's eating that well, you can also think about a nipple bucket to minimize the contact at feeding time.
 

2/B or not 2/B

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It's totally normal (and obnoxious) behavior. We used a nipple bucket because it's really annoying when you're bottle feeding a calf and it bunts the bottle while you're holding it. And we never stuck around too long after feeding. It seemed to be more about the sucking than actually being hungry.

I don't think you should feel bad about making a point to the calf if it doesn't respect your space. When a calf gets too pushy with its mom, she kicks it away or bunts it with her head. Giving the calf a short whack on top of the nose hurts your hand more than it hurts the calf.
 

chippie

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We have pens made out of livestock panels. When we have bottle calves, we feed them through the fence.
My BIL who has a dairy feeds through a fence too.
Don't feel bad about smacking her. The butting is a huge No No, plus you really don't want her trying to go in between your legs when she is a couple months old. A calf trying to play with you is a good way to get hurt.

Smack her where it will hurt. Don't worry about hurting her because there is no way you can hit her as hard as a cow can butt or kick.

Ditto about don't make a pet out of her. Cattle are not like dogs.

How about a picture of her?
 
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knowknews

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cow012.jpg
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Newest pic of her. I guess I was just posting pics of her hair loss and sores. I never did post a full pic of her. LOL Friday, she was running and actually trying to "buck" --her front legs are getting stronger.
 

msscamp

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knowknews":3niuh3c3 said:
I can imagine a 1000 lb cow doing this and don't like the idea, the question is: what is this about-just her wanting more? If i let her do this to me will it continue or is this something she will outgrow? Personally I think it is a bad habit to let her get started doing. But don't want to smack her if that is too extreme and something she will outgrow.

Sure she wants more, the usual schedule of feeding a bottle calf is completely alien to what nature intended. Assuming you're giving her enough milk, that is what hay and grain is for - to finish filling her up. Whether or not she "outgrows" her current behaviour depends on you. Feed her through the fence, rather than going into her pen. Do not pet her, love on her, or scratch her - all of these things encourage her to become a pet. Go out, feed her, and walk away - she cannot try to suck on your clothing or head butt you if she cannot get to you. Make sure her hay and grain is fresh, and good quality. If she is not understanding what the hay and grain is for, pen her with a slightly older animal who does know what hay and grain is - the older animal will teach her.
 

S&WSigma40VEShooter

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Buy you a stock stick and every time she does that smack her across the nose or over the top of the head or behind the ear with it. She will get the message you are the boss eventually.
 

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hillsdown":2cc9dsng said:
She is a bottle calf and that's what they do. When she is weened she will grow out of it, now is the time to halter train her, it will be handy when she is grown.
What she said.
 

chippie

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angie":3hd68b5k said:
hillsdown":3hd68b5k said:
She is a bottle calf and that's what they do. When she is weened she will grow out of it, now is the time to halter train her, it will be handy when she is grown.
What she said.

She will not grow out of it unless you do not allow her to do it. I got my first bottle calf in my early 20's. "Rose" would do her bottle calf butting and pushing. I was ignorant. I would just sort of push her away. Wrong thing to do, because when she was weaned and started eating grain, she would do the same thing when she saw a feed bucket. Then it became a game with her.

Anyhow I spoiled her to the point that she became dangerous to be around. It was all my fault because I made a pet out of her.

Now if a bottle calf tries to butt and push asking for food, we slap it away and tell it to quit. They get the message and learn to associate being fed through the fence and know that when we come into the pen, it is not dinner time.

I do agree about halter breaking her. It is a good thing.
 
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knowknews

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Here are a series of how she grazes. LOL We had fed her bottle and she went out to the yard.

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knowknews

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Yea, I put her on a halter today. It went better. I fed her bottle in her stall. I used to scratch her head while she was taking her bottle, but no more!! She follows us out of barn to her yard after bottle, but today I waited after her bottle till she settled down and took her out with the halter (which she hates). When we get the big door on rollers, she will be able to come and go from her stall when she pleases. In the evening, we bring her and the goats in. The goats run in right to the calf's bucket and eat her food; which I don't care now because I see it gets moldy if it sits too long.

When they shared a stall, she learned to eat out of the bucket. She wont do it right after the bottle; last night, I waited until she settled down after bottle and went in stall to scoop up her grain and let it "sift" back into the bucket. After she saw that, she went right over and started to eat her grain. I left right away so I don't know how much she ate at that time, but believe she knows where it is if she wants more later. I also don't know how much she should eat per day so I have waste to give to the goats. Thanks for the advice. I sure don't want a cow that is dangerous to be around and it be my fault.

Does she look ok? Except for the hair loss which is growing back.
 

chippie

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Just give her a handful of grain at this point. That, access to water and her twice a day bottle should be enough for a while. You don't want her to get too heavy or grow too fast because of her front legs.

She may or may not straighten out. Good luck with her. She is a cutie.
 
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