Switching older calf off mom and on to bottle

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I will be aquiring a calf that is 4-6 weeks old and is on an older mom that only has two working quarters on her bag, calf is not thriving like it should be. My first thought is to take her off mom (cold turkey) and give milk replacer until old enough to wean. I don't feel I'll be able to do this slowly because these are range cattle and not the least bit friendly. I have bottle raised quite a few calves and know how stressfull the early age switch to the bottle can be but has anybody done this switch so late before? And what am I in for? Any suggestions? Thanks
 

TheBullLady

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It could get interesting! About three years ago we had a cow fall over dead that had a 4 week calf on her. We went out in pasture, roped the calf and put him in a stock trailer. There we fooled with him for about 24 hours before he figured out the bottle, but once he did, we were home free!

About a year after that we had a similar experience, and never could get the calf calmed down enough where it would nurse on a bottle. We gave up and took it to the sale barn.
 

Larry Sansom

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Smyrna Cattle":m6gmrdms said:
I will be aquiring a calf that is 4-6 weeks old and is on an older mom that only has two working quarters on her bag, calf is not thriving like it should be. My first thought is to take her off mom (cold turkey) and give milk replacer until old enough to wean. I don't feel I'll be able to do this slowly because these are range cattle and not the least bit friendly. I have bottle raised quite a few calves and know how stressfull the early age switch to the bottle can be but has anybody done this switch so late before? And what am I in for? Any suggestions? Thanks

Most milk replacers call for only 30-45 days of milk then keep on a high protein Calf Starter feed. Suggest you forget the milk and go to the Sweet Feed like Calf Startena or Growena from Purina. I have had to wean early on a granny cow or 2 and have had good success in growing or salvaging a potential runt that mom has gotten too old to raise. It just stops the major market potential of grass-fed beef because you are feeding grain. This will actually make a very high grading claf if you sell on that market later. Seems the earlier the calf gets on high concentrate - the better they do on the carcass test.
 

Ann Bledsoe

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I took a 2 week old Red Angus cross heifer from my Dad's farm and raised her on a bottle. That was not quite 3 years ago, she was born to a 20+ yr old cow that couldn't feed her, she was a scrawny little thing when I got her.
I had a big advantage though (IMO), I was milking a Jersey at the time, so the little heifer got Jersey milk instead of replacer, and she loved it.
I put her straight into a 7' x 9' stall. I had to pin her neck between my legs to get the bottle into her mouth, a bottle was offered every 12 hours, and it was 36 hours before she would suck on the bottle. By the 3rd day, when she heard the barn door open, she was hanging over the stall door looking for her bottle.
As soon as she was eagerly taking the bottle, she was offered good quality calf starter. She was weaned at 11 weeks of age, and was fed a small amount of grain daily until she moved to Dad's farm when she was 3 mos pregnant (she was fall born and bred at 21 mos for a spring calf). I took great care not to allow her to put on fat before she was bred.
Dad gave her a handful of range cubes during her last month of pregnancy. She had her first calf Feb 27th and has turned out to be a really good heifer, she's on grass, milking well, calf is growing real well, and she doesn't appear to have lost any weight.

Ann B
 

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