Calf sucking

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Cowcalfguy

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I have a concern about a calf sucking or not. The cow has a very large udder and her teats are large. I've had issues before with the calves not nursing right away. I've looked around for different ideas about being able to mark the teats to see if the calf has been sucking or not. Its more for peace of mind on my part but sometimes it hard to tell whether or not they've nursed. I've read some other threads on this subject and its a pretty simple question so I'd appreciate a simple answer, this isn't my first rodeo so to speak.
 

MurraysMutts

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I dont know of any way to mark the teats.
I had this same situation a few weeks ago. I penned mine up and put her in the chute. Made sure she was making milk and manually put the teat in calfs mouth. Teats were pretty large. But after a couple days of him nursing on em he got it down.

Perhaps food coloring???
 
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Cowcalfguy

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I'm always worried about hesitating to long and once the calf starts going down hill its hard to bring it back. Seems like a fine line and I also don't want to put to much stress on the pair either. He doesn't seem to have as much energy as some of the others the same age but thats not always the best way to judge things. We thought maybe lip stick or some edible lipstick of some sort possibly
 
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Cowcalfguy

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Born 8am Saturday morning, I think he got some but maybe I'm just being a helicopter mom but this is the 3rd one now that I've worked with. The other 2 are doing well now. His belly did feel full tonight and he's got a good temperature but not a ton of energy
 

MurraysMutts

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Lipstick or food coloring may work. Idk.
You'd have to get her in the chute anyway huh?
I'd be sure and check all 4 quarters and make sure they are working while I was at it. May even direct they calf to the udder while shes in there and that may tell you a story as well!

Like I said, I sure had my doubts about the one I spoke of. He tried like heck, then would give up and start grazing. He just could not get em in his mouth. Only a couple days old. Better safe than sorry!
 

Ky hills

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It's hard to tell with some. For us if there is any question of whether or not the calf may have trouble nursing for one reason or another, we give it colostrum fairly quick just to make sure it gets it in time. May not be a bad idea to get the cow in a chute and check her udder to make sure she has milk. We have had some that were sure they did but they didn't.
 
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Cowcalfguy

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I did that yesterday afternoon and she wouldn't let her milk down for me right away but I did get some out but the calf was being stubborn and won't suck. I had to starve one of the other calves before it would finally put enough effort into finding the teats and latching on. It can be very frustrating. I've supplementing a little milk and electrolytes just to be sure he's getting something but I'm using a drench gun if he won't suck first
 

TCRanch

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What I look for: thick, yellow colostrum poo. Slick, clean teats. Calf not going from teat to teat. Tail wagging while nursing. Sides of calf not sunken in. Energy. Mama standing, not kicking or raising a leg, as if in pain. Calf is bawling for no apparent reason - there's a problem.
 

WFfarm

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Sometimes you have to encourage a newborn to get up to go suck. We tend to get them up out of their comfy bed the first few days to help encourage them to eat. Some calves are just really dumb when it comes to nursing and you have to work with them a lot at latching on and sucking.
 

sim.-ang.king

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Dry food coloring, dampen the teat then toss some on. If the teats to large, milk it down, and then see if the calf will suck.
 
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Cowcalfguy

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Thank you for the reply king, does that stay on fairly well? I think the calf is getting something because his belly had something in it this morning but she looks like a holstein with her udder
 

bird dog

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Give the calf a bottle and see if its hungry.
I had a weak calf earlier this year that was slow getting up. I didn't see it nurse when I stood it up. It would stand by mom but acted like it didn't know where the teat was. I gave it a half a bottle twice daily for a couple days. It had a good sucking reflex. On day three the calf didn't seem to want it anymore. On day four mama let me know in a rude way that my service was no longer needed.

That calf is now doing okay but appears to be a poor doer. Growing slow.
 

Rancher

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I keep colostum on hand just for this prob. My calves are almost always born outside in the corral and if they don't get up riteaway I heat up a quart of colostrum and get it down him/her fast usually while moma is passing after birth so I don't have to climb a tree <grin> This gives the calf energy within a few minutes to hit the bag.
 

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