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To bottle feed or not to?

WildAcresFarm

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Hi all I'm new here and had a question about if I should bottle feed or not. :help:
I have a four year old Miniature Texas Longhorn cow that I purchased bred in November. She is supposed to be due anytime between April-July. I've been breeding horses and lambs for about 10 years now, but never cattle. She is starting to bag up and her vulva loosen a bit. This will be her second calf. Based on what little I know about breeding cows and from experience with other animals I'm guessing she's about a little over a month away still.

My Longhorn bull, is the sweetest thing and will chase you down just to lick you! The cow, Roxy, however is extremely skittish and won't let anyone near her and will come at you with her horns (which are over 4 1/2 feet long!) if you try to touch her through the fence. We've tried unsuccessfully (for now) to halter break her over the winter but decided to stop trying as she gets closer to delivering as not to stress her too much. I'm hoping for a heifer and if it is a heifer I will be keeping it. Because the cow is so unfriendly I was thinking about taking the heifer and bottle feeding it to ensure its friendly. Do you think that's unnecessary or a good idea? This will most likely be the only calf I keep (for a while at least) and I only plan on keeping if its a heifer so that I can breed her back to my bull since Roxy came bred by a different bull. Also, I plan on showing the calf and walking her in parades, fairs, etc. like I do with my bull now.

I have read a bunch of articles on bottle feeding calves and have already raised bottle-fed foals, goat kids, and fawns before, so I'm not inexperienced when it comes to bottle babies.

Thank you in advanced!
 

randiliana

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Personally, I would let the cow raise the calf and then work with it after you weaned it. Much better for the calf to be raised on the cow, and once weaned, you shouldn't have too much trouble taming the calf. If it is safe, you can work with the calf while it is on the cow, just be careful. And if the cow is coming after you with the intent of chasing you already, I would be very careful. If you do want to work with it as a baby, set it up so you can separate the calf from the cow for a while when you want to work with it.
 

regolith

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Seconded. She'll raise a better calf than the bottle, most likely.
It's not worth giving up several months free time and a well-conditioned calf for the sake of a better chance at handling that calf. You could use some of that free time working with her separately, as suggested (without her expecting food every time she sees you).
 

rc690

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Don't know too much myself, but I would let the cow alone to raise the calf. Like it was said before, if ya want to work with the calf, set it up where you can separate the two.
 

WildAcresFarm

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Thanks, all of ya!! I'll try it and see how it goes! Maybe when Roxy gets closer and I'm out there messing with her all the time trying to check her she'll get use to me and be more willing to let me mess with the calf.
 

randiliana

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WildAcresFarm":2ln5g2vw said:
Thanks, all of ya!! I'll try it and see how it goes! Maybe when Roxy gets closer and I'm out there messing with her all the time trying to check her she'll get use to me and be more willing to let me mess with the calf.

I wouldn't bank on that. Unless you aren't out there hardly at all now. If she is used to you, and still wants to challenge you, it won't get better when she gets close to calving, and most likely she will be much worse with a new baby. She needs to respect you, and you need to be cautious around her.
 

I luv herfrds

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I agree with Randi. Use extreme caution with her. Some cows get extremely defensive over their calf and will view you as a predator.
 

mnmtranching

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I hate ornery cows and want nothing to do with them. Lot of good cows available out there. Sounds like you could be injured.

Make some burger, :D
You apparently have time, bottle and hand feed the calf. You'll have a REAL tame one.
 

grannysoo

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WildAcresFarm":1hme3cwu said:
My Longhorn bull, is the sweetest thing and will chase you down just to lick you!

That sweetest thing that will chase you down is going to hurt you one day.

As to bottle feeding the calf? No. Mama knows best.
 

Loch Valley Fold

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"WildAcresFarm wrote:My Longhorn bull, is the sweetest thing and will chase you down just to lick you!
That is the surest way to get yourself seriously hurt or even killed
As for the cow let her raise the calf herself but don't be surprised if the calf has the same temperament issues as its mother. Any kind of attitude problem gets trucked off pretty quick on our place don't have the time or patience to put up with stuff like that
 

CKC1586

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randiliana":smeyginr said:
WildAcresFarm":smeyginr said:
Thanks, all of ya!! I'll try it and see how it goes! Maybe when Roxy gets closer and I'm out there messing with her all the time trying to check her she'll get use to me and be more willing to let me mess with the calf.

I wouldn't bank on that. Unless you aren't out there hardly at all now. If she is used to you, and still wants to challenge you, it won't get better when she gets close to calving, and most likely she will be much worse with a new baby. She needs to respect you, and you need to be cautious around her.
The sweetest girls will get "protective" with a new calf. The ornery ones usually get worse with a calf.JMO
 

Workinonit Farm

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CKC1586":bcjzdig6 said:
The ornery ones usually get worse with a calf.JMO

:nod: :nod: Yup. I got rid of old 1049 for that reason. Difficult to deal with, tore up too much stuff, bent up too many gates, and came after me too many times. When she had a calf, it was best to stay far away from her.

As for #47, she can be a bit high-headed, but fairly easily workable. This year when she had her calf (3rd) she made it clear that I would not be doing any tagging or banding by myself. The one good thing about her mothering attitude is that she will come running if any of the calves sound the alarm, and chase any dog or other canid out. If I am the cause of a calf bawling, once she sees that it isn't her calf, she walks off.

As for bottle-feeding, let momma raise that calf.

Katherine
 

Keren

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I agree, let Roxy raise the calf, and halter break it at weaning or earlier if you can get it away from her. Trust me, you will find it a lot easier to halter break a calf than a mature cow.

Might not be a bad idea to find someone who shows regularly, and pay them to break Roxy in for you.
 
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