feeding twins and cow

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farmwriter

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Okay, I know we have several twin threads going already, but I'm looking for some specific advice. Here's the background:
I had a heifer deliver male/female twins last Monday, Jan 10. The male is small, but the female is tiny. I literally would put her birthweight at about 25 pounds - definitely the smallest living breathing calf I've ever seen. So we took her to the barn and started her on the bottle. She was so small, I split her colostrum in 3 doses throughout the first 24 hours and she took to the bottle no trouble, so I gradually got her up to 3 and a half pints milk replacer twice daily.
Saturday we penned up the cow and the male calf and re-introduced them to the little girl. To my utter astonishment, the cow took to her immediately and has been mothering both calves and letting me take each calf a bottle morning and evening.
So here's my question - how much should I be feeding the cow and the calves? Obviously I'm concerned about her producing enough milk for them both, and I want to keep her in as good condition as I can in hopes I can get her bred back. Right now I'm giving each calf 3 pints, twice a day. Currently at my disposal for the cow are 13% sweet feed, whole cotton seed, and calf manna (which by the way ain't cheap!) in whatever mix will do cow and calves the most good. *Edit - She also has in front of her at all times all the coastal hay she'll eat.* I'm welcome to any suggestions ya"ll have as twins are a whole new ball game for me. Thanks in advance for any tips you can offer.
 

piedmontese

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if hte calves r doing good with what u and the cow r giving them and u dont c any scours then i would keep it up.maybe when they r a little older u could up the replacer but really they should b on calf starter by then so u probably wont even need more milk.grain is alot cheaper than milk replacer.it sound like u ahve the 3 of them penned close so that is y i mentioned graining the calves with the manna.i dont know what your cow weighs but i would give her about 5lbs n the morning and 5 at night.
 

Chris H

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I'd sell one of the calves and put the heifer and one calf back out in the field. That way you are guaranteed of getting a few bucks and giving that new momma the best chance to recover from pregnancy & calving, get ready to rebreed, show what she can do raising one calf, carry a new pregnancy, and finish growing herself.
 

dun

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Chris H":14vpsqoh said:
I'd sell one of the calves and put the heifer and one calf back out in the field. That way you are guaranteed of getting a few bucks and giving that new momma the best chance to recover from pregnancy & calving, get ready to rebreed, show what she can do raising one calf, carry a new pregnancy, and finish growing herself.
Me too!
 

jtbakv

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dun":2cmdndn2 said:
Chris H":2cmdndn2 said:
I'd sell one of the calves and put the heifer and one calf back out in the field. That way you are guaranteed of getting a few bucks and giving that new momma the best chance to recover from pregnancy & calving, get ready to rebreed, show what she can do raising one calf, carry a new pregnancy, and finish growing herself.
Me too!
would you still sell one of the calves if the mother cow was a proven mother and has raised great calves in the past.
 

angus9259

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If you want to keep both calves (the heifer will be sterile) - then I'd try to keep it simple and give the momma some good 3rd cutting hay and have calf starter out for the calves behind a calf gate. Much beyond that, it'd get too complicated for me to deal with it.
 
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farmwriter

farmwriter

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jtbakv":23rtuo4u said:
I'm giving each calf 3 pints,
Is this necessary giving the calves extra milk or are you just helping the momma
Would they die w/out it - probably not. But I sure don't think they'd both thrive on just what the cow could produce and I don't want to run that young cow in the ground by making her try to keep up with them, especially since she's behaved so well through all this.

Thank you all for your input. I know I'm being a softy, but I can't stand the thought of shipping those tiny things off. If I stumbled on somebody else with a nurse cow, that would make me the most happy. Although 3 dang sets of twins half way through calving is making me think seriously about getting a nurse cow of my own.

Ang9... yeah, I know the chances of them being fertile are slim to none, but the chances of them bringing okay as weanlings seems pretty fair at this point. I feel better about getting them on some sort of feed before I throw them to the world though.
 

dun

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jtbakv":18d0hb5p said:
dun":18d0hb5p said:
Chris H":18d0hb5p said:
I'd sell one of the calves and put the heifer and one calf back out in the field. That way you are guaranteed of getting a few bucks and giving that new momma the best chance to recover from pregnancy & calving, get ready to rebreed, show what she can do raising one calf, carry a new pregnancy, and finish growing herself.
Me too!
would you still sell one of the calves if the mother cow was a proven mother and has raised great calves in the past.
I would. The chances of the cow not breeding back unless she's supplemneted a lot and raising 2 calves is pretty good. If she raises both the chances of them turning out to be dinks is much greater. We had a heifer that raised twins, she was doing such a great job we let her raise them both and didn;t supplement since they were all with the rest of the cows. The claves, bull/heifer weaned at acombined weight of 845 pounds. The cow came up open but that was because I only tried to AI her once since she went totally nuts when she was seperated from her calves long enough to put her in the chute. After the calves were weaned she turned into a flaming crazy attack cow. Took almost a year to heal the internals after she got me down and pounded me several times.
 

chippie

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There are people at the auction barns looking for bottle calves and they usually bring pretty good money. You wouldn't be throwing out into the world.

I would either sell one calf or if you don't feel comfortable, bottle raise one and let the cow raise one calf like the others suggested.
 

jtbakv

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farmwriter":2bhhga3t said:
jtbakv":2bhhga3t said:
I'm giving each calf 3 pints,
Is this necessary giving the calves extra milk or are you just helping the momma
Would they die w/out it - probably not. But I sure don't think they'd both thrive on just what the cow could produce and I don't want to run that young cow in the ground by making her try to keep up with them, especially since she's behaved so well through all this.

Thank you all for your input. I know I'm being a softy, but I can't stand the thought of shipping those tiny things off. If I stumbled on somebody else with a nurse cow, that would make me the most happy. Although 3 dang sets of twins half way through calving is making me think seriously about getting a nurse cow of my own.

Ang9... yeah, I know the chances of them being fertile are slim to none, but the chances of them bringing okay as weanlings seems pretty fair at this point. I feel better about getting them on some sort of feed before I throw them to the world though.
I wasn't asking because of your heifer but I too have twins and was asking concerning mine I do believe I will take my smaller one away from momma and bottle feed her for a couple of weeks and then sell her or keep her awhile and sell her at weening don't know yet about selling.
 
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farmwriter

farmwriter

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JT, If you think you're gonna put one on the bottle, I'd reccomend you start trying it as soon as possible. I have raised several bottle calves, and they don't usually pick right up on it. The older, bigger, stronger, they get, the more they will whip your butt until they figure it out.
 

jtbakv

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Thanks I will be doing that today I have another calf that I'm having to bottle right now that his momma let suck for a week then turned him away he took to it pretty good but he was really hungry I'll try my luck with the twin
 

Oldtimer

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jtbakv":1i7ft4hj said:
dun":1i7ft4hj said:
Chris H":1i7ft4hj said:
I'd sell one of the calves and put the heifer and one calf back out in the field. That way you are guaranteed of getting a few bucks and giving that new momma the best chance to recover from pregnancy & calving, get ready to rebreed, show what she can do raising one calf, carry a new pregnancy, and finish growing herself.
Me too!
would you still sell one of the calves if the mother cow was a proven mother and has raised great calves in the past.

Depends on the cow...Definitely would bottle feed one of these since it is a heifer...But I have had some mid age 4-9 year old cows have twins- take to both- and raise them quite well- and get bred back with no problems...

But on a heifer or an old cow- with the price of calves right now- I think I'd bottle feed one...
No one calving in this area yet- so I have seen no baby calves for sale yet-- but with the prices where they are, I'm thinking this is a year you may see $350-400+ prices for newborns :) ....
 

angus9259

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dun":zrixo031 said:
cypressfarms":zrixo031 said:
angus9259":zrixo031 said:
If you want to keep both calves (the heifer will be sterile)


This is not necessarily true!
Correct, only a better then 90% chance that she is

Indeed. That's what I was getting at. You should try to keep a twin heifer for breeding purposes as odds are it won't work out.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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If it's "convenient" for you to keep her seperated to feed the heifer - all she needs is whole shell corn - about 5# am & pm. I would set up a creep area for the calves to eat calf manna or other grain mix.
You have options. You can keep them on her FOR NOW, and analyze her condition. If she is losing ground, pull a calf off her.
 
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farmwriter

farmwriter

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":3qpabbeq said:
If it's "convenient" for you to keep her seperated to feed the heifer - all she needs is whole shell corn - about 5# am & pm. I would set up a creep area for the calves to eat calf manna or other grain mix.
You have options. You can keep them on her FOR NOW, and analyze her condition. If she is losing ground, pull a calf off her.

Okay, that's what I was thinking. If she can supplemet their bottles a little and hopefully get them on solid food without losing her condition, that seems like the best scenario to me. And right now it's do-able. If we have (please Lord, NO) another set of twins...all bets are off.
 

jtbakv

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Just to let you all know I seperated my twins and have started bottle feeding the little one. she didn't like that bottle at first but after she found out what it was she gobbled it down and now comes running with mouth wide open. My 9 and 11 year old girls are fighting over whos going to feed her next. I also have calf starter available and I have seen her nose print in it this morning. all seems to be good as of now. the mother cow and the other calf are doing fine also.
 

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