Heifer won't let new calf drink

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pd

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One of my heifers had her first calf 2 days ago - a good sized bull calf. It was slow to get up and needed a lot of help from me. The mother really cares for it - but only wants to lick its head and won't let him go to her udder! It doesn't help that she has short stubby fat teats!


I have been putting her in the crush and getting the calf to suck - but she still kicks/ fidgets. He did manage to drink of one of the teats, but I don't think he got too much.

So I have been milking her and then feeding it to the calf. I used a rope to tie her leg back while I milked her (2 x day), I'm feeding the calf every 4 hours (daytime - not at night). I have been tubing the milk to the calf as it does not have a very strong suck yet.


Any tips on how to get mum to let the little fella go the udder in peace -please?
 

txshowmom

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If you tie her leg back like you do when you milk her will the calf nurse her ?
 

dun

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First thing to check is that the udder doesn't have a problem, either mastitis or edema. Mastitis needs to be treated actively and the calf bottle fed for a couple of days till the medication is out of the udeer. Edema is easily taken care of with a couople of shots of Laysix(sp), I spelled it the way it's pronounced but not sure how exactly it should be spelled.
If there isn't anything wrong with the udder, it starts to get tough. Catching the cow and letting the calf nurse can get old and sometimes it works. Putting hobbles on her, Some folks subscribe to the wack the hell out of the cow anytime she won't let the calf nurse. I've never seen that work as a long term solution. Getting rid of them both is alwasys the final solution. I've found that in most cases it's an udder problem. So full that it's painful, from either just quantity of milk, edema, or mastitis. If it's the qantity, milking her part way out before the calf nurses can help and normally the calf will keep her milked down enough after that to keep the problem from coming back.
You can also put a rope around her middle just forward of the udder and cinch it TIGHT. That keeps the cow from being able to kick, but she may turn to knocking it down by butting if she's a real witch.

dun
 
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pd

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Many thanks for all your suggestions - that is very helpful. New day just started here and heading out now to try out your advice on her.

I don't think it is mastitis, more tight swollen udder from the milk - but maybe there is some edema - will try the warm cloth and the rope around her middle too.

I'll also try the calf on her with the leg tied back - but she still kicks a bit with other leg and occasional with front leg! But will see how it goes - finger crossed...
 

jcarkie

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i had one that took three days to take the calf. twice a day i tied her and let the calf nurse and on the third day she took it. some times it works with patience .
 

3-B Farms

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i know this may sound silly but i have seen it work. if you take some of the cows feces and rub it on the calfs back end when she smells herself she will sometimes claim the calf. i had a brahama calf that lost its momma, my uncle had a cow that lost her calf. we did the whole thing with roping her, tying a half-hitch in her nose and then tying her back leg to a post to let the calf suck, durying one of these bloody, dirty, cussing sessions an old man was driving by and seen the ruckus and told us this would help. we let the calf suck, untied the cow and after about 20 or 30 minutes to calm down, the calf walked up like she had good sense and the cow never tried to butt or kick her, she raised that calf for about 7 months after that, we weaned the calf when she had to get on her knees to suck
 

cattle_gal

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Typical old style heifer.

If he is weak from the get go I swear there is something in a cows psychy that tells her that this calf is no good and to let the weak die.

This heifers bag may be just very uncomfortable(presure/full) for any thing to touch it.

If you have a stanch or put a rope around her neck and tie her up. I have found that her own milk also works on putting it on the calf's hide and rear end and the calfs fecus after he has had her milk - not the powdered.

As a positive reinforcement for when the calf sucks is to give her some grain or pellets while the calf is sucking. Just let her eat it off the ground as you are working the calf.

If she is a kicking bird try to sooth her and desensitize her back legs by rubbing the legs up and down with a whip or stick as if you were rubbing her with your hand, pre calf sucking so you can touch them and she stands still. and then there's the witches who don't want anything to do with their calves, but this heifer likes her calf.

But we want to encourage her, not punish her, for her calf sucking so no harsh hits or tone. You can call her a witch and any word in the book all you want, but it's the tone that they pick up.
 

Ann Bledsoe

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3-B Farms":16zdytdc said:
i know this may sound silly but i have seen it work. if you take some of the cows feces and rub it on the calfs back end when she smells herself she will sometimes claim the calf. i had a brahama calf that lost its momma, my uncle had a cow that lost her calf. we did the whole thing with roping her, tying a half-hitch in her nose and then tying her back leg to a post to let the calf suck, durying one of these bloody, dirty, cussing sessions an old man was driving by and seen the ruckus and told us this would help. we let the calf suck, untied the cow and after about 20 or 30 minutes to calm down, the calf walked up like she had good sense and the cow never tried to butt or kick her, she raised that calf for about 7 months after that, we weaned the calf when she had to get on her knees to suck

You can also catch urine from the cow and pour it down the calf's back -- less messy than using feces and works just as well.


Ann B
 

Ryan

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Has milking the cow into a bucket, and then putting the milk on the calf's back and head been known to work? I've heard of this, along with the urine.
 

cattle_gal

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You can say the heck with the bucket, spray that milk on to the back right from the tit. ;-)

Yep doing those things work. Anything that has the cows own bodily fluids on it. Especially after-birth. Cows can smell individual things we have no clue about. With a graft though I kill her smell with ammonia sprayed on the hide and not let her sniff his rear end. Won't do the skin the dead calf's hide and drape the new calf. No thanks.
 
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pd

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wow - thanks for all this great advice! :D

The good news is that when I went out yesterday am (or was it the day before...?) the calf was up and drinking from one of her teats!

But at that stage she did not want him near the other 3 teats. So back into the crush for more therapy. She and I have become good mates now, she has got quite used to me and licks me and will feed from my hand now. The other day I was in the pen tubing her calf with her lying down right beside me watching quite happily.

Anyway today the calf is able to take from all 4 quarters without much fuss from the mother. She realises that it actually makes her feel better I think. It was funny as one of her herd mates had her calf this am and it was looking like a repeat performance, with the heifer roaring every time the calf tried to stand and not letting it get near her udder. But fortunately 30 mins later and with a pile of baleage which may have distracted her for long enough, the calf was at her udder sucking.

Phew, looking good now, touch wood. Many thanks for all your great advice. I have a new question which I shall post now :D
 

cattle_gal

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Good news. That's great.

Yep when they figure out that when the bag gets uncomfortable that's when the dinner bell of her voice calls out to her calf. Natures way of keeping cow and calf together.

Oh yes the over surge of chemicals after birth in some cows. Usually they will calm down after a few minutes, and some you need to teach that this poor thing that come out of her isn't going to hurt you any more. And then there are some older gals that need to go to town or they will kill the next calf. I had to do that to an 8 year old this year. I had to protect him from his "killer mom". 30 minutes later she was fine. But if I hadn't been there right then he would have been coyote bate
 
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