cow suckling from cow!

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Stripey

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My first question on this forum is likely to peg me as a total fool, but here goes...
I have 2 belted galloway cows, one 3 y.o, one 5 y.o. The 5 y.o. is the mother of the younger (who was weaned at 10 months of age).
Nine months ago both cows calved a few days apart.
A couple of months ago I noticed the younger cow drinking off the older cow. She would sneak herself onto a teat while the young calf was drinking, and the older cow would let her. The new calf didn't seem to suffer any loss by it, fortunately, but now there's a new calf due in about 6 weeks, and I'm concerned about it getting enough nutrition.
They are all on basic pasture with mineral powder and a small scoop of grain daily. In this part of the world we have rainforest soils (leached of minerals, but plenty of fodder in general).
When the new calf comes along, will I have to do something with the other cow (e.g. special muzzle cover)? I imagine they don't come in cow-sizes, but maybe I could make one?
Thank you in advance for any replies, and sorry to write such a long post... As you can see, I'm pretty green.
 

MistyMorning

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Stripey, more will weigh in on this for you I'm sure, but my question to you is are both the cow and calf still nursing the mother now, with six weeks to go until she gives birth? If so, IMO you need to get everyone off that cow ASAP.
 

FarmGirl10

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MistyMorning":h2h4cmcf said:
Stripey, more will weigh in on this for you I'm sure, but my question to you is are both the cow and calf still nursing the mother now, with six weeks to go until she gives birth? If so, IMO you need to get everyone off that cow ASAP.

Yes, you need to get both of them off of her. The 3yo deffinately should not be allowed to nurse off the other cow. Just because the calf doesn't appear to be effected, doesn't mean that it's not. It could be growing a lot faster than it is now.
 
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Stripey

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Thanks for those responses.
Both calves are already off both cows — they're in a weaning paddock. I forgot to add that the cow sneaking milk wasn't a daily occurrence, more like once a week (window open + purse on the windowsill). She doesn't seem to try it on when there's no calf alongside.
My worry is basically now about the new calf, but you've answered it: I have to separate the cows as soon as the older one calves, or earlier if there's any more adult-suckling.
Thinking aloud here... Could I put the younger cow with the weaner calves, leaving the older cow to have her calf and raise it alone? (They do have a fenceline in common.) Or would the cows break a fence to get back together?
Thank you again, and apologies for being unclear.
 

msscamp

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Stripey":1f6hmzam said:
The 5 y.o. is the mother of the younger (who was weaned at 10 months of age).

Why did you wait so long to wean? The usual weaning age is 6-7 months of age.

A couple of months ago I noticed the younger cow drinking off the older cow.

This happens on occasion. Ship the younger cow, and the problem is solved - at least for now. You will not break her of sucking, and I would suggest that you watch this particular cow and her heifer calves in the future. We generally shipped the sucker, as well as the mother who allowed her previous calf to nurse.
 
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Stripey

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msscamp":22mhsggc said:
Why did you wait so long to wean? The usual weaning age is 6-7 months of age.
My reading suggested a wide range between 4 (early) and 10 months.
Thanks again for all your responses. I'll sell the cow and hope I'm not passing on a problem. :)
 

dun

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Stripey":3m92ugnm said:
msscamp":3m92ugnm said:
Why did you wait so long to wean? The usual weaning age is 6-7 months of age.
My reading suggested a wide range between 4 (early) and 10 months.
Thanks again for all your responses. I'll sell the cow and hope I'm not passing on a problem. :)

Sell the sucker. She is the problem. The suckee probably won;t allow other older animals to suck, but the sucker will alwasy try to suck the suckee. Most likely won;t suck any others, but you can never tell for sure.
 

MistyMorning

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dun":2syogklo said:
Sell the sucker. She is the problem. The suckee probably won;t allow other older animals to suck, but the sucker will alwasy try to suck the suckee. Most likely won;t suck any others, but you can never tell for sure.

Well that sucks.
 
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Stripey

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Thanks again everyone, you've been most helpful.
I don't know if you have these in the states, but here we have these rubberised clip-devices that sit on a weaner's mouth and stop them suckling (they have pointed tips that also discourage the cow). Would something like that be worth trying until the cow's sold?
 

dun

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Stripey":43o5t4o2 said:
Thanks again everyone, you've been most helpful.
I don't know if you have these in the states, but here we have these rubberised clip-devices that sit on a weaner's mouth and stop them suckling (they have pointed tips that also discourage the cow). Would something like that be worth trying until the cow's sold?

Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. Some poeople swear by them other swear at them. I'm in the latter group
 

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