Feeding calves

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Irishred

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My 4 boys are doing good finally. (One of them is still not on par but recovering). They are aproximately 2 weeks old.

Currently they are being fed 10 pts a day (3-2-2-3) medicated milk replacer and have a good grain calf starter mix and water always available. They eat the grain off my hand after they finish their bottles but have yet to see it disappear from the bucket. I try to put a small pile of hay next to the grain bucket but they tend to lay on it. The med-MR is quite expensive and we are on the 4th bag already (we started with 6 boys). Yes, I mix per instructions. So I have a few questions to anyone experience raising bottle calves.

Questions:
1- Is it necessary to use a medicated MR? What is the purpose of the meds?

2- If we were to switch to a non-medicated would it hurt them in the long run? Would we need to give them medicated supplements occasionally? (yes, I know we would need to mix as we switched feeds)

3- I remember reading on here (pretty sure) about what I recall as a MR in pellet form that could be mixed with grain. Could someone please share some information about that product?

4- They are at 10 pts at 2 weeks. They guzzle the bottles and act like they want more and that is when I get them to eat a few handfuls of grain each. Feeding them 4 times a day at the request of the owner to hopefully help lessen the potential for digestive problems. I know I need to increase their bottles again adding another pint to one of the 2 feedings but when? I believe 12pts was the suggested total per day, when should I increase to that?

Thank you
 

dun

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They'll alwasy act hungry and wanting more after a bottle. You could probably give them 4 bottles at once and they'ld still act like they wanted more. The medication in the milk replacer adds very little to the cost of the product. It's the quality of the all milk nonn-soy product that adds to the cost. We used to feed a sack of replacer and wean, that was right at 8 weeks of age. We also fed the total quantity as indicated on the product label.
 

backhoeboogie

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If it were me, I'd stick with what's working. No need to upset the apple cart. Be patient. They'll be hitting that feed quick enough. Keep them eating it any way you can if you want them on it sooner. Licking it off of your hand is fine and it is working.

Both of the above posts have a great deal of merit. Read them again.

I always seem to feed longer than others.
 

spinandslide

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Im not an expert by any means..but Ill share what I know. :)
Questions:
1- Is it necessary to use a medicated MR? What is the purpose of the meds?
I was told that sometimes, the medicated MR causes scours. I used unmedicated on my calf. I was told the meds were supossed to help from them getting scours..???

2- If we were to switch to a non-medicated would it hurt them in the long run? Would we need to give them medicated supplements occasionally? (yes, I know we would need to mix as we switched feeds)No and No I would think.

3- I remember reading on here (pretty sure) about what I recall as a MR in pellet form that could be mixed with grain. Could someone please share some information about that product? Agreed, prob calf manna. Just dont overfeed it. Its got alot of protein in it..Protein overload will cause scours..personal experience here..:)

4- They are at 10 pts at 2 weeks. They guzzle the bottles and act like they want more and that is when I get them to eat a few handfuls of grain each. Feeding them 4 times a day at the request of the owner to hopefully help lessen the potential for digestive problems. I know I need to increase their bottles again adding another pint to one of the 2 feedings but when? I believe 12pts was the suggested total per day, when should I increase to that?
I've been told time and time again calves always act hungry..:)
My MR told me to feed no more then 8 pints per day and so I stuck with that until I started weaning. I had wanted to keep my calf on ONE bag of MR and then wean, but she got dreadfuly sick and almost died. I tried to wean, but she wasnt ready. She is now though. She only gets three pints in the evening and after this weekend she will be on MR no more. Sucks I had to buy another bag of MR and use only a quarter of it, but I know afew girls who raise BC's, and I might get froggy again and try to raise another. :)
 

milkmaid

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10pts/hd/day is what... 5 quarts? Just a bit over a gallon per day per head.

I know there's plenty of folks out there who like to feed 2+ gallons per day for 6 months, but I've never found it necessary or economical. My bottle calves get a gallon of milk per day, twice a day, and they're weaned between 5 and 8 weeks of age, whenever they start eating grain well. I've always found it more economical to feed grain than milk replacer, and I refuse to go through more than one 50lb bag of replacer per calf.

Personal preference.

If non-medicated MR is cheaper for you, then by all means use that. The amount of antibiotic in the medicated replacer is too low to do any real good anyhow.
 
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Irishred

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OK, getting confused about all this. So I went and pulled the instructions.

The directions say for one calf to mix one scoop (8oz by weight) per 2 quarts of water. Feed 2 quarts twice a day to start and until they are consuming 1 1/2 pounds MR per day which would occur around 4-6 weeks. [So, that would be 3 scoops and 6 quarts (12 pints) of water per day.] Note: our MR is in 25 lb bags.

MM, you said you only feed a gallon a day per calf total (2 qts twice a day)?

They are all eating more of the grain, but still just off my hands at this point. I'll hold them at the 10 pts a day for now as they are only 2 weeks. My older boy had the calf mana mixed with another grain and then ground corn as he got older. These boys are getting the other grain and a granular (looks like grape nuts LOL) mix and at some point will get the ground corn added as well. Aiming for 5 weeks then weaning I believe, so 3 more weeks and hopefully not too many more bags of MR in that time.

and off topic... Do Holsteins boys always look skinny? Need to go take more pictures.
 

milkmaid

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Yes, 2 quarts twice a day, and usually just a touch under the recommended amount of powder (closer to 7oz than 8oz). I prefer not to increase the amount of milk as they grow, but rather to get them eating grain and hay so they can be weaned. JMO.

Holsteins are thin, period, being a dairy breed, but there's a difference between normal-thin and starving. Ideally you can feel the ribs, spine, hipbones, but cannot see ribs or spine easily. Hipbones will be visible -but not abnormally so- just because they're a dairy breed. Keep in mind that b/c they've been sick they'll be a little thinner than ideal.
 
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Irishred

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Thank you MM,

Only the one now has been 'sick' more than a little bout with scours. He got pretty far down to the point I thought he was gonna be gone the next morning. He is eating well now and getting stronger. Thank you for the description on build. I thought they would look thinner but wanted to make sure. Will try to get some pictures to post today or tomorrow.

Would it be OK if I cut back to 8pts on the MR after they start eating the grain on their own?
 

hillsdown

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Irishred see if you can get some 18% dairy ration calf starter. It is the good stuff and calves eat it like candy, all so you can get it with decox which is good for them as well.
 
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Irishred

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backhoeboogie":1nqyy6jw said:
Irishred see if you can get some 18% dairy ration calf starter.

There's no way in hades I would feed an animal anything that hot this time of year. Maybe 12%

They have good feed, I think it is 12 or 14%

Thank you MM, I will start cutting back and get them eating more feed. I did see one of them eating out of the bucket today. That will make the MR last a little longer too :)
 

larryshoat

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hillsdown":u3nuimjz said:
Irishred see if you can get some 18% dairy ration calf starter. It is the good stuff and calves eat it like candy, all so you can get it with decox which is good for them as well.

Good advice, these calves need at least 18% protien, if you are going to wean them in that 6-8 week range . You could probably get by with lower protien if you were going to continue to feed milk for alonger period of time .As milkmaid stated, a 50 lb bag of milk should do it .They should be weaned at 6-8 weeks and continue feeding 18-20% protien feed until they are 10 weeks old, then start cutting back on protien .

Larry
 

IGotMyWings

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When I was bottle feeding my bull calf, he started with 1 bottle twice a day, then ended at 2 twice a day with calf starter, hay and water always available. The bull was hard to start on feed and hay, he really dug the bottles! The steer was totally different, he got a taste of the starter and that was it, he didn't want the bottle anymore. We used the 20/20 medicated mostly because that's what they were already using with the bull when we bought him, and we didn't want to take a chance on something different causing scours. That's how we did it, for what it's worth.
 

gg4rebels

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I never fed my two bottle calves more than 2 - 2qt bottles a day! They got one around 6 am and the other at 6 pm. Actually the older calf was on the bucket when we got him. He still was fed 2 qts in the am and 2 in the pm. That is what the directions on the bag indicated. As for the calf feed, I used the 18% stuff until just recently. They now get 13% calf feed. They are 5 months and 3 months old now. You might want to sprinkle some of the MR on the feed in the bucket to encourage eating. This helped with mine. I told my husband yesterday that I was ready to get a couple more bottle calves before it got cold......well not really cold because in central Mississippi it might get to the 40s and maybe, just maybe to the 30s a day or two.
 

milkmaid

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My vet always told me growing calves need at least 18% protein. After all, we feed them 20% protein in the milk replacer, why not 18% grain? Lactating dairy cows need around 16% daily. Finishing steers need around 12% protein, but they're only laying on fat, not growing frame or producing milk. Dairy animals and growing calves just have extremely high nutritional requirements.
 

hillsdown

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Well contrary to what people have heard about Alberta we don't live in igloos and have been know to hit 100 degree weather for quite a while in the summers.

I have always fed 18% dairy ration 365 days a year to all of the calves that were on a bottle ,and have never had a problem with it.
All of my animal health courses have never said the contrary and neither has our nutritionist and we were using REAL milk not replacer.

Unless there is some other scientific evidence that it will hinder your calves I do not see a problem with it. BUT as always if you are in doubt consult your vet.
 
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Irishred

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Picture updates :) --- (if these are too big, please let me know and I can resize them on photobucket)

Well, they know the sound of the little wagon I tote the bottles water and grain to the pen in and here they are all waiting...
mefirst9-08.jpg


After bottles, I make sure each gets a few small handfuls of grain and they like to suck on my fingers...
fingerlicking9-08.jpg


got more moooooma?
gotmore9-08.jpg


Dos and Tres:
dostres9-08.jpg


Quatro and Cinco:
quatrocinco9-08.jpg


Cinco looks a bit skinny but I believe he is recovering well...
cinco9-08.jpg


And not to be left out, B.B. and my cow girl
mmlonggrass9-08.jpg
 

backhoeboogie

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milkmaid":323mci7n said:
Lactating dairy cows need around 16% daily.

MM They can't take that here in the summer. When they are panting on 10%, we can get feed in one place that is 8% until the heat gets back down under 100. Otherwise, they quit eating. You put out the feed and they turn up their nose. You can imagine what happens to milk production. They will sustain on 8% all grain.
 

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