Pregnant yearling heifer

Help Support CattleToday:

OP
K

Katpau

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 28, 2009
Messages
615
Reaction score
51
Location
Roseburg, Oregon
Thanks TC. I guess I didn't even know about the heart thing and I don't really do Facebook, so I have never "liked" anything. I feel kind of rude now, because I haven't "Thanked" anyone. Please know that I do appreciate everyone who has posted supportive comments, but I still don't know how to Thank.
"
 

farmerjan

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
3,443
Reaction score
435
Location
Shenandoah ValleyVirginia
The little thumbs up next to your "profile" on the right top of the post . The heart used to be for people to "like" the post. The thumbs up is the same Idea.
Congrats on the heifer having the calf. And for you being attentive and getting it out and up and going. If it is drinking, then I would not continue to feed it too much as you want the calf to keep after her momma and she will produce more milk as she is stimulated. Granted, up to a point, as her system is still very immature. Maybe 1 bottle a day so you are sure she is getting enough? But if she can get up and nurse, that will do both more good than not. I have had a few over the years calve at 15-16 months. I usually have held them back and not rebred right away. A few times I have weaned the calf off and then let them gain some more weight and growth and bred so that they would be calving with their 2nd at 2 1/2. They will grow some, but will probably never be as big as if they didn't get bred too soon. Mine have all done pretty good with subsequent calves.
 
OP
K

Katpau

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 28, 2009
Messages
615
Reaction score
51
Location
Roseburg, Oregon
Jan
Thanks for the suggestions.

She has not been able to get on the cow yet, even with help. Last night she did stumble around after we fed her for maybe a minute. The legs wraps have helped, but she still falls to her knees with almost every step. Her suck response is still weak. The most we have gotten her to take that way is a pint and a half and she sounds raspy after drinking. She prefers the milk we get from the mother, but we can't seem to milk out even a full pint at one time. Once she can nurse regularly from the mother, I will certainly encourage that, but I think a supplemental bottle will be necessary. I do plan to wean her early, but I hope we can let her nurse until she is 3.5 to 4 months.

We only leave bulls in for about 8 weeks, so calving her at 2 1/2 would be impractical. I will decide in June whether she goes with the bull, gets a year off, or is sold. No plans yet for that far ahead. I will need to see how she looks for condition at that time. She was a pretty fancy registered Angus heifer at weaning. Every one of my registered buyers asked about her. I am really relieved I didn't give in and sell her. I would have hated this to happen to a buyer.
 

TCRanch

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
5,294
Reaction score
726
Location
Winfield, KS
If she sounds raspy after a bottle my first thought is at least some of it's going down the wrong tube. Maybe better luck with a goat nipple. How big is the calf?
 

farmerjan

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
3,443
Reaction score
435
Location
Shenandoah ValleyVirginia
I'm with TCRanch. Use the goat/sheep nipple. In fact, that is what I use all the time with my bottle calves. It makes them get it little slower, so they don't "drown" as they suck. Plus, try to keep her head not as "high" so that the milk has to go down the right tube. A calf on a cow will bend it's head in a bit of a U shape to reach up to the teat. Look at a normal calf sucking to get what I am trying to explain not so well. If the calf has more of a "straight line" up to get the milk, it will not naturally close off the windpipe and it will get milk down the wrong tube. I see that so often with bottle calves that people just hold the bottle up too high.

I didn't realize from reading your post that she was not able to suck the cow at all. Then I certainly agree about the bottle feeding.
Are you using ALL MILK milk replacer? It tastes better to a calf and is the only good replacer to use. Milk and whey proteins... Do not use soy based. They cannot absorb the soy proteins and the calf will not do good on it plus they don't like the taste.

I have another suggestion. Since the calf can't suck the heifer, and she is so terribly young, why not just keep the calf on a bottle, dry the heifer up, breed her when you normally would and in the meantime she might be able to grow more and calve at a normal age? Even though the heifer has been attentive, since she is registered and you must like her genetics, it might be kinder to dry her up, let her grow and gain and get bred to calve at a "normal" time.
 
OP
K

Katpau

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 28, 2009
Messages
615
Reaction score
51
Location
Roseburg, Oregon
Yes, I am using the All Milk replacer and I was in front so the bottle was at a nice angle and not going in too fast. The Vet told me that raspy thing right after eating is real common in calves this young and not to worry about it. He claimed you will even hear it with some premie calves sucking the cow. She weighed 66 pounds, so small by my standards, but plenty big for a yearling heifer. It would probably be best for the cow for me to bottle feed the calf and dry her up, but I don't want a bottle calf, so I am going to allow her to feed it and see how it goes. I may not breed her this year, depending on how she looks in June.

We tried a sheep nipple, but it did not reach back into her mouth far enough to stimulate a suck response. With a standard calf nipple, she would suck pretty good for about a pint and then stop, so it was a long process. This morning we went down the hill to the corrals to feed her and she was able to get up pretty well. Three legs are now working decent and only one keeps flopping under. We put her by the cow and she fell down, so we gave her half of a bottle hoping that leaving her a little hungry would leave her with the incentive to suck the cow. When we went back at 1 o'clock she was able to get up pretty easy, so we watched and she went to the cow and sucked. After a while we offered her the half bottle since we had mixed it. She took another pint and then went back to the cow. The cow is extremely attentive, standing over her or lying nest to her constantly. She won't even leave it to go 5 feet for food. We really got lucky with this situation. I think things are going to be OK, but I intend to keep giving this pair lots of attention
 

76 Bar

Well-known member
Joined
May 15, 2012
Messages
1,593
Reaction score
198
Location
South Western Oregon
Congratulations of saving the heifer & calf! I'd give momma huge bonus points for fertility & mothering instinct at such a tender age and find a way to retain her.
 
OP
K

Katpau

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 28, 2009
Messages
615
Reaction score
51
Location
Roseburg, Oregon
What a difference a day makes. She has got her legs all figured out now. When we arrived this morning she got up and we watched her go to the cow and suck. Then she ran to us like she was showing off her new skills. Her left foot still flips over some, but that is improving by the hour. By evening she was using it very well. She seemed to be trying to nurse constantly, and was aggressively butting the bag, so we offered her a pint and she took it down quickly. We mixed her up another quart and she took that too, so I assume the cow is producing very little. Her stomach looked empty, but after the bottle, she was filled out and content. I hope with time the cows milk will increase, but I will be bringing her milk replacer until I see that little tummy full without it. That may be until weaning.

I knew this was a fertile line of cows but this is ridiculous. Her mother was a twin and has given birth to twins. She is an 8 year old Pathfinder cow and has always calved in the first three weeks. The maternal Grandmother had twins twice. The calves mother's sire is a bull I raised out of a 14 year old cow who has had 13 calves, and that cows mother is 18, still in the herd having never missed calving and is expecting her 17th calf any day now. This will be only the second time in all those years that she did not breed on the first heat. It appears this year she will calve about 30 days after the first cow, so second heat. Both these cows are still agile, in good flesh and youthful in appearance.

I was not able to figure out how to post a photo. I read the instructions, but I don't see "Add image to Post" below my test, and when I tried to go to photo gallery I got a message that said "We're sorry, but the system experienced an unrecoverable error. Please try again later."
 
OP
K

Katpau

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 28, 2009
Messages
615
Reaction score
51
Location
Roseburg, Oregon
I decided to update this old post with a picture of the heifer that calved at 13 months, nursing her third calf, born on February 21st.
The cow was born on Feb 25th 2018, so she had her third calf a few days before her third birthday. We see lots of bad news nowadays, so I figured something good that happened was maybe worth a post. :)
 

farmerjan

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
3,443
Reaction score
435
Location
Shenandoah ValleyVirginia
Really good to see the picture and the update. That is really wonderful about her doing so well and already on her 3rd calf. Glad that you kept her and gave her that opportunity. I just sold "surprise" who was born to a 15 month old heifer out of a line of very fertile angus x family. She was 14 (?) and came up open and had no teeth, and her calf was real nice but decided that it was better to cull than to try to breed her again and get her off cycle with everyone else. Plus the no teeth makes winters harder on the cows. And cull cow prices were up so time to be smart. Have several of her daughters still here and a few later generations too.

Congrats on making an iffy situation into a great outcome.
 

TCRanch

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
5,294
Reaction score
726
Location
Winfield, KS
Love it, thanks for updating!! My heifer with the "oops" baby was one of the first to calve this year and she's a great little mama. Sometimes it all works out!
 

Latest posts

Top