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Jun 27, 2016
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I had a cow have a calf Friday morning the 3rd. Not long after she had the baby she went off to eat hay and never seemed to pay much attention to it. After a little while I went over to the calf to check on him and she didn't seem to care at all about the baby. So I watched them pretty closely the rest of the day and even into yesterday morning. As far as I can tell the calf hadn't gotten any milk from the cow and she still didn't seem to want much to do with it. So I went and got a bag of DuMor Colostrum Supplement to bottle feed it with. By this time the calf was pretty much lifeless but I was going to do everything I could to help it.

So I got it into the barn and finally got it to start taking the bottle. He finished the first bottle pretty quickly seeing as how that was the first thing he has ever had to eat. He started to have a little more life to it but not much. So I left him alone and came back later to give him the second bottle of that supplement. He seemed to be doing even a little better but not great after that bottle.

Last night I left him with him mom in the barn together hoping he would start to nurse off her and everything be alright. Came back this morning and the best I could tell didn't get any milk during the night as he was pretty lifeless like the morning before. So we put the cow in the head gate and tried to get calf to nurse but she kicked him off and he was just so weak he wouldn't do much of anything.

We turned the mommy back out into the pasture field and she went right back over to where she had him two days ago and seemed like she was looking for him. We put him back in the field with her and she seems to be paying a lot closer attention to him now but the calf still hasn't gotten any milk from her.

Sorry for the long post I just wanted to try to explain everything the best I could. I was wanting any advice on what I should do in this situation. Also I would need advice on if I have to bottle feed it what is the best stuff to use and things like that.

Thanks in advance.
It's not uncommon for a cow to leave her calf bedded down, and go off and leave it. Is this her first calf? Sometimes it takes them a while to figure things out.
Rafter S":1xxu2pn9 said:
It's not uncommon for a cow to leave her calf bedded down, and go off and leave it. Is this her first calf? Sometimes it takes them a while to figure things out.

It is her 4th calf. I bought her in the fall of 2015 and she was bred then. Her calf last year she never left its side and done great with it. This year its like the total opposite.
Get her back into the chute and if you have to, put a pair of hobbles on her . But if you can get her where you can milk her any, see if she has any milk. I have seen nice udders on a cow and not a drop of milk in them. I would keep supplementing the calf for a few more days with at least a bottle twice a day, and see if the maternal instinct kicks in. Is she a cow you have had and raised a calf on before, or is she a recent purchase? If she is a purchase, that could be why she was sold. And if she doesn't get with the program anytime real soon, ship her, and bottle feed the calf or sell him too if you don't have the time. Cow prices are not so high that you have to keep a non-producer around. She may have an instinct that there is something wrong with the calf, but usually they are attentive for the first couple of days....

If you have to bottle feed it, get an ALL-MILK milk replacer, NOT soy based. I think Dumor 's top line is all milk, I get our feed mill/store brand. Purina makes some and Land-o-Lakes is a good brand. It'll say 20/20 which is fat/protein. Feed at least a bottle twice a day. Many dairies are now going to a 6 qt bottle twice a day rather than just the 4 qt bottle( 1/2 gal). If you start with the 4 qt and the calf seems to be doing good, it wouldn't hurt it to up it to 3 bottles a day or 6 qts a feeding for at least the first 4-6 weeks. Think about the calf on the cow getting a qt or more a feeding and they are nursing several times a day. By about 4-6 weeks it should also be eating some hay and you should have started to introduce grain to try to get it to get over on to solid feed. Then weaning will be up to you. Most dairies will wean calves from 6 to 10 weeks, depending on how much grain they are eating. A calf stays on a beef cow for about 5-9 months, with 7 being the average. I would say a bottle calf should be weaned in the 8-12 week range under normal circumstances; a beef calf will usually do a little better with a little longer milk feeding than a dairy calf. But if it is eating good, they will start to pull the nipple off the bottle so it can get aggravating. Or get it to drink out of a bucket and let it get the milk replacer that way. But most calves will do better if they are on bottles for a few weeks at least. It is more "normal" since they would have been drinking off the cow. And when you do feed the bottle, remember to not hold it up too high or the milk will get into their lungs. Think about how the calf reaches up under the cow, with a bend in it's neck; it helps the milk "go down the right pipe" so to speak.

Just saw that you had her raise a calf last year. I would check her udder to make sure she has milk not mastitis or anything. Then, I would supplement the calf and keep them in somewhere close to watch them. She may be feeding the calf and you just never see it but if it is weak, then maybe she just doesn't want it for some reason only she knows.
First thing is to make sure the calf is eating or you will have a dead calf. I would put them both in the barn and bottle feed the calf twice a day until you knew he had it figured out. I would also tie the momma up and hobble her and try to get the calf to nurse but if you're not feeding it it will never have the strength to fight her.
When we put her in the head gate this morning she would let us try to milk her a couple of times and milk did come out but after the first few tries she started kicking at us everytime we even got close to her. During this time we also tried to put the calf on her and thats when she kicked him off also and almost stepped on his head.
Since I gave him two doses of that colostrum formula yesterday do I need to give him anymore today or just milk replacer?
High quality replacer at this point. Sadly, you waited too long to pull the trigger on giving him the colostrum to give him maximum benefit, and the kind you used is not a replacer but a supplement. Not enough immunoglobulins. Don't give up, he's not beyond hope just really behind the 8 ball. Feed him until she either accepts him or you have a bottle calf, if you don't you will have a dead calf.
Colostrum is only beneficial in the first 24 hours. If the calf doesn't get it in that time frame, it's ineffective. Good luck with the cow. It gets harder and harder to have patience for her kind. Life is just too short for that sort of aggravation. :tiphat: says the person who spent two weeks last year trying to get a heifer to take her calf.
I suspect the calf didn't get much if any colostrum so if you only gave a colostrum supplement instead of colostrum replacer, don't be surprised if the calf gets a little scours and you may want to vaccinate early.

You mentioned when you milked the cow in the chute milk came out but was it watery or chunky? Do her teats/bag look "normal" for her? I agree she may have mastitis, therefore painful, and her quality of milk may not be good. I am currently supplementing a calf with a mama that has mastitis and after treating her, 2 quarters are producing quality milk, 1 quarter is still watery & 1 is a goner. BTW once you have her in the head gate, if you don't have hobbles a sturdy stick, pole or even or re-bar is an alternative - just place & secure it in front of her hind legs.

We once had a heifer that wouldn't claim her calf and we penned them up in a very small corral & supplemented the calf for almost a week before she would let it nurse. But that's a judgment call & not a good idea if she's aggressive towards the calf. The only time we had a seasoned cow ditch a calf was with twins (not totally uncommon).
The best I could tell her milk looked perfectly normal. We got her in the heat gate again this evening to try and milk her. This time you had to pull a lot harder and it took a lot more effort to get milk to come out. But once it started milk just poured out of her and even came out on its own without us trying to milk her.
Yes, we caught the milk. I just don't understand why he won't nurse the cow but will suck the bottle dry. Could it possibly be something wrong with the calf and its nothing to do with the cow after all?
coalcreekfarms10":3ibl8f7d said:
Yes, we caught the milk. I just don't understand why he won't nurse the cow but will suck the bottle dry. Could it possibly be something wrong with the calf and its nothing to do with the cow after all?

When you get the cow tied and hobbled, start the calf drinking it's bottle then move the bottle over by the teat. When he gets wanting to bottle pull it out of his mouth and put the teat in there. Should pick it up before too long as long as she's hobbled.
Your baby needs your help. Obviously, the cow isn't going to do it. I'd put him somewhere protected. Somewhere the temp is controlled so he doesn't have to expend energy keeping warm. Maybe in your house or a warming box. Dehydration is the first problem. Everything else that's bad happens because of it. Small feedings several hours apart. Overfeeding is as bad as underfeeding. I've had fantastic luck with Pedia-lyte to restore dehydrated baby calves. Grocery stores sell it in the infant section.
Then, I'd get the cow in and give the rip a ride to town. You are doing her job. No reason to reward her unless you want to go through this again next year. There's more cows-no reason to prop one up that won't do the one thing she need to do.
Not trying to sound rough. I've been where you are and it's no fun. I had a lot of trouble last spring with a heifer not wanting her calf. Finally gave up and sold the heifer. This year I was picking replacements and a really nice heifer caught my eye. I sorted her off to keep but realized she was a sister to "THAT ONE"-no way was I going to take a chance.

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