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Cow nursing two calves

ClinchValley

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I thought i saw a calf chasing a cow that wasn't her Momma a couple days ago. Well, caught the cow nursing her calf and another yesterday at the same time. Her calf is maybe 3 weeks old. The thief would be about 3.5 months old.

I'm sure its hard on the Momma. She's an 8 yr old Sim. She is in good shape as of now. But has me not liking it. I'm sure it is stealing from her calf, whom i was very excited when i saw was a heifer. So don't want her to get the shot end of the stick.

I suppose its good to have a laid back cow. But this situation cannot be good, right?

The thief's Momma is my least favorite cow. This cow was my first, given to me by my Grandfather. She was bred too small/young and never recovered after calving. She is small. Probably 900-1000 lbs if i had to guess. She grows a heck of a calf so far.

The thief is growing fine. But i wonder how long she has been stealing milk without my noticing it.

What to do? Should i separate her and her momma from the group? Let it go?

Since seeing the law being broken i haven't seen the thief nurse her Momma. Going to verify that today.

Do some calves simply want more? I'm wondering if the thief's Momma is going to be the problem.
 

angus9259

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The thief won't stop till it's put in jail.

If the new heifer were one I wanted to keep I would separate them.

At 3-4 months I might just wean the thief early and see if I could either find a buyer or put him on some kind of feed till he could be eaten or sold.
 

pdfangus

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angus9259":31iygiui said:
The thief won't stop till it's put in jail.

If the new heifer were one I wanted to keep I would separate them.

At 3-4 months I might just wean the thief early and see if I could either find a buyer or put him on some kind of feed till he could be eaten or sold.

ditto

and let the thief's mama grow wheels as well if she cannot feed her own baby.
 

TCRanch

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I wouldn't worry about it, especially since both cows evidently raise good calves. I have some cows that are virtual buffets, never really sure if the calf they're nursing is theirs & will sometimes have 2 or 3 nursing at the same time, but they rarely let another calf nurse until their own calf is a few weeks old. Having said that, I'd take a good look (and feel) at the udder of the theif's mama to make sure there isn't a reason her calf is robbing (mastitis, etc).
 

ClinchValley

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angus9259":2esb7opf said:
The thief won't stop till it's put in jail.

If the new heifer were one I wanted to keep I would separate them.

At 3-4 months I might just wean the thief early and see if I could either find a buyer or put him on some kind of feed till he could be eaten or sold.

Was a thought I had also. But, the thief is a real nice built heifer. Does weaning this early result in slower growth in your opinion?

Reckon this thief could become a grown thief?
 

ClinchValley

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pdfangus":12stdsa4 said:
angus9259":12stdsa4 said:
The thief won't stop till it's put in jail.

If the new heifer were one I wanted to keep I would separate them.

At 3-4 months I might just wean the thief early and see if I could either find a buyer or put him on some kind of feed till he could be eaten or sold.

ditto

and let the thief's mama grow wheels as well if she cannot feed her own baby.

Would y'all take them out of here as a pair?
 

jerry27150

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seen many cows do this & if calves are about the same age I don't worry. but where one is this much older the big one will get the lions share, & if a big calf is determined to suck the cow cannot stop him & let her calf suck so they will let both on. I would separate them, both cows may be good cows but a calf may just want more at that age as his mother will be producing less now.
 

Cucumber35

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If you already don't like the thiefs mother I'd send them packing as a pair. You would have enough to get a nicer replacement if needed. Sounds like mom isn't milking too well so separating them both or weaning early is going to hold the calf back either way. And letting them go is just going to pull the other pair down with them.
 

farmerjan

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Separate the least favourite cow and her calf that is the thief. Let the other cow have a chance to feed her calf properly. Then make a decision on the least favourite one. Maybe she doesn't have much milk. If she has had nice calves in the past maybe it is because they have always been able to find a meal elsewhere. Calves aren't dumb, they will steal off another cow if they can. Have never had any big problems with them wanting to suck after they get mature, but not saying it won't happen.
 

Waterway65

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In my operation the calves are all about the same age and kept in small pastures. Milk theives are comman. Four years ago I had a three year old with a good steer calf. The three year old died suddenly. When I weaned you couldn't pick her calf out from the others. I have never had a problem after weaning these calves either.
The big problem I see for you is the age difference of the calves and that would worry me.
 

dun

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Waterway65":2col1zoy said:
The big problem I see for you is the age difference of the calves and that would worry me.
That and the "why" of the calf stealing are my concerns. If the other cow is milking I don;t understand why her calf went looking elsewhere for groceries. Whatever the reason, the older calf needs to be separated from the cow with the younger one.
 

angus9259

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ClinchValley":1846bvb0 said:
angus9259":1846bvb0 said:
The thief won't stop till it's put in jail.

If the new heifer were one I wanted to keep I would separate them.

At 3-4 months I might just wean the thief early and see if I could either find a buyer or put him on some kind of feed till he could be eaten or sold.

Was a thought I had also. But, the thief is a real nice built heifer. Does weaning this early result in slower growth in your opinion?

Reckon this thief could become a grown thief?

Just because the calf is stealing doesn't mean it can't be weaned so, no, I don't think it will be a grown thief.

Weaning this early won't result in slower growth if the calf is fed proper. If she's out of a cow you don't like I'd suggest using some caution on retaining the calf. If the momma doesn't have enough milk, even if you split the two off, the calf may need some extra feed to keep up anyway - which is why I say just wean the calf and be done with it - or sell as a pair.
 

farmerjan

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I have to agree on maybe not keeping the "thief" heifer even if she is nice because of the cow maybe not milking that well. You don't want to perpetuate a poor milking strain in your group. If you can separate the thief calf and it's mother, then see if the cow doesn't have much milk or even some problem with the udder, then that will determine the fate of the cow. If the cow maybe got mastitis and lost a quarter or two then that is the reason the calf is stealing. Doesn't mean it will happen to the calf when she grows. There was a rash of mastitis and lost quarters a couple of years ago in heifers, here on several different dairy farms, and they all traced it back to a fly population explosion with some real wet then very warm weather. So if your least favourite cow has issues, it won't necessarily manifest its self in the heifer but would be something to note. Have you kept any other heifers out of this cow and if so how have they done? But regardless, you do need to let the cow with the little calf have a chance to feed her calf with no interference from the thief heifer.
 

ClinchValley

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I've been watching them closely. Thief's Momma is making milk and feeding just fine. I guess the thief is just wanting all she can get. I haven't caught her sucking on the other cow anymore. But she definitely hangs out with the pair. So i'm sure its happening.

I have a bred heifer from the thief's mom and she is a very very nice heifer with the exception of having a 10' flight zone. Even after getting grain for two months while i stand next to the feeder. If feed isn't around neither is she. I've been considering moving the whole family out of here.

The thief has a butt on her like we have not had here. It is 100% a Limo butt. Probably the kind of butt to drive a bull wild. The butt along makes me want to keep her and see what her calves would do.

Think i am going to separate the two pairs and see how things go.

Thanks for the help y'all.
 

Nesikep

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It's usually not a great worry to me.. Usually the thief is only successful once every couple milkings (eg, when they're all at the feed bunk), so in the grand scheme of things it doesn't amount to that much..

Last year I had one that was very good at it, and he had about 3 momma, and he'd always be looking at what their calves were doing, as soon as they went to nurse, he'd run over and sneak in, and would take any kind of kicking and bunting until the cow gave up. It's kinda funny to see how they can recognize a cow from a distance that I can hardly tell apart
 

boondocks

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I have one mama that will, without fail, let another calf sneak a nursing in. She keeps condition well and when it's happened, the calves in question are similar age so I don't worry too much.

This year, a friend has a cow here; his cow and one of our first-timers have co-parented their calves very amiably. Calves will nurse both mamas, who seem unconcerned. Our first-timer does not have a big udder but does have milk. However, it's been a bit hard to get her bred back on AI, so hopefully the co-nursing hasn't affected conception (she's in decent condition).
 

BC

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