Calf wont suck

Help Support CattleToday:

donnaIL

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
678
Reaction score
0
Location
IL
I know this topic has been brought up lots of times, but search is hard to use--keeps kicking me out.

Had a calf born, in the pasture, ofcourse in a foot of snow (Saturday). Carried it up and put mom and calf in a pen, tryed to get calf on mom, calf would not suck. Next day (less than 24 hrs) calf is breathing hard, shivering and not nursing. Tempatures are freezing..brought it home, warmed it up, tryed to bottle but then tubed. Got the Draxxin from the Vet on Monday, the hope was that the calf would suck and I would take it back to mom. Mom wants baby.

Calf is strong, some scours..Advise?
 

jkwilson

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
1,244
Reaction score
36
Location
Southern Indiana
Tube it but let it get hungry occasionally. Try a bottle first every time you feed it. Fingers wet with milk can be good at getting one started.
 

hillsdown

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Messages
9,930
Reaction score
11
Location
Alberta, Canada
Definitely keep tubing it . Make sure you give it vitamins a and d , b12 and selenium. Also, predef is a steroidal anti inflammatory that usually kick starts their appetite and if she has labored breathing it will help.

Keep trying her with mom , remember to check her mouth after you have left her for a while, if it is nice and warm inside she has drank from mom.
 
OP
donnaIL

donnaIL

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
678
Reaction score
0
Location
IL
I am tubing it..she is telling me she is hungry by mooing..we dont live on our "farm", so she is where we are, it is temporary. I guess the question is should I leave her "at the farm" with mom when she is not sucking. Might mention mom is old and her udder is not perfect..alot not perfect, probably her last calf. We will take her by end of week, I'm just not excited about wrestling her in 6 inches of snow (or melted snow), if she was sucking, she might come to a bottle if she was hungry. Thanks, getting ready to try again..shes calling :)
 

hillsdown

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Messages
9,930
Reaction score
11
Location
Alberta, Canada
donnaIL":394njtbi said:
I am tubing it..she is telling me she is hungry by mooing..we dont live on our "farm", so she is where we are, it is temporary. I guess the question is should I leave her "at the farm" with mom when she is not sucking. Might mention mom is old and her udder is not perfect..alot not perfect, probably her last calf. We will take her by end of week, I'm just not excited about wrestling her in 6 inches of snow (or melted snow), if she was sucking, she might come to a bottle if she was hungry. Thanks, getting ready to try again..shes calling :)


In that case, you have a bottle calf . Ship mom ,cull prices are good right now and will probably cover your milk replacer costs..

Did you check her mouth for a cleft pallet ?
 

farmwriter

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2009
Messages
1,073
Reaction score
1
Location
Deep South
If you don't have one, pick up a lamb nipple (sometimes called a goat nipple) and try it. It's much smaller and seems to get em started a little easier.
 
OP
donnaIL

donnaIL

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
678
Reaction score
0
Location
IL
I thought about the lamb nipple. The calf is also a real actor...sometimes throwing her self on the ground like shes dead...I just tried the bottle, head between legs, moving jaws etc.. then eventually tubed...she started shivering and throwing a fit.. now she is moooing again acting normal..

I really don't want a bottle calf, but am fond of the mother and we will keep her. I'm assuming clef pallet will be real obvious even though the calf looks normal. It seems like she doesnt have good control of her tounge. I'm ready to give mom a chance...has anyone had a calf wont do the bottle and only nurse a cow. Other thought was to start trying to bucket train..never did that before, but thinking about it.
 

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
19
Location
MO Ozarks
donnaIL":1cy30rlt said:
I thought about the lamb nipple. The calf is also a real actor...sometimes throwing her self on the ground like shes dead...I just tried the bottle, head between legs, moving jaws etc.. then eventually tubed...she started shivering and throwing a fit.. now she is moooing again acting normal..

I really don't want a bottle calf, but am fond of the mother and we will keep her. I'm assuming clef pallet will be real obvious even though the calf looks normal. It seems like she doesnt have good control of her tounge. I'm ready to give mom a chance...has anyone had a calf wont do the bottle and only nurse a cow. Other thought was to start trying to bucket train..never did that before, but thinking about it.
Hit her with some BoSE
 

Beacake

Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2011
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Some calves are just stubborn and seem absolutely bottle stupid. The moving jaws and tongue everywhere give me the idea that she's not trying to suck, just chew and mash the teat end. They have to figure out it doesn't work that way. Have you got her to suck on your fingers? Rub the top of the inside of their mouth to get a real suck reflex, and then switch em up quick for the bottle, or squirt some milk in there. Be persistent :) some can be difficult.
 

angus9259

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 2, 2007
Messages
2,907
Reaction score
85
Location
Michigan
Everything you say sounds like the calf's in great shape compared to most non-suckers I've had. That leaves to the two most difficult parts in the process . . .

Patience and, as previously stated, persistence. Hopefully you have more of those two things than I do.
 

randiliana

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 24, 2005
Messages
4,807
Reaction score
4
Location
Saskatchewan, Canada
Here is what I do with a non-sucker. It requires a bit of work, but it is less stressful, and has worked for me every time.

I have never yet been able to force a calf to suck. If the instinct is not there, it seems it is not there.

So, rather than fighting with them, I simply tube them. Make sure they get at least one, and preferably 2 good feeds of colostrum in the first 12 hours. Then I move them to either cow's milk (if I can easily milk her) or milk replacer. Mama cow's milk is preferable, as it reduces the chance of you having problems with her accepting the calf later. But if she is really hard to handle, I go the easy route and use milk replacer.

Tube the calf for 2-3 days, depending on how strong it is. I usually feed 3 times a day, morning, early afternoon and mid evening. On the last day (day 2 or 3) I don't feed them in the evening. Leave the calf in a small pen with mama, and in the morning he should have gotten hungry enough for that instinct to kick in.

So far, this has worked for me every time I have had to do it. It is a pain in the butt, but it works. You don't get stressed, and you don't stress either the calf or the cow.

The reason I feed for 2-3 days, is to give the calf a chance to build up a bit of reserve, so that when you leave it overnight, it has enough strength to last the night, and to get up and look for dinner. If you were to do this on day one you may end up with an even weaker calf that you would have to mess with for even longer.

Some calves are oxygen deprived from a long birth and it takes some time for them to figure things out.

Some can be Selenium deficient, which causes muscles to not work correctly so a shot of selenium can be beneficial, and won't likely hurt anything.
 
OP
donnaIL

donnaIL

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
678
Reaction score
0
Location
IL
Thanks everyone! This morning when I looked at the calf it looked like it was suckling its thigh (it was all curled up)..felt like I was going to get lucky and did...The calf started running around in circles, sucked down 2 quarts, wagging tail fiercly and head butting the bottle. Six hours it was starving again tried 2 qts of electrolytes...sucked it down but still bawling, then drank 2 qts of milk replacer (still complained a bit after that).. back in with mom tonight (she's a good cow and will come running to see her calf).

Still thinking about the BoSE shot. The calf does this shaking thing after it eats..its not because its cold, but its like all of its muscles are trembling...lasted for a good 5 minutes..then she layed down. Shes been doing that shaking and I thought just acting dramatic...maybe its something, maybe its nothing?

First time with a dumb sucker calf..hope its the last.
 

randiliana

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 24, 2005
Messages
4,807
Reaction score
4
Location
Saskatchewan, Canada
Awesome! But i can't help you with the shaking, unless it is some sort of seizure. We had a calf that had seizures, seemed like the only time they happened was either during or after feeding.
 

Similar threads

Latest posts

Top