Tube feeding

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grubbie

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I have been in cattle since I was a kid,...and I have never had to tube feed a calf. Long story, but I have a situation here where it would be pretty handy to do. I have a tube feeder with the ball on the end, and have done some research on the internet. Can anyone offer any tips, or things to lookout for? Also, will it work okay if the calf is lying down? I will be doing this alone, he can stand, but lying down is easier for one guy to control. The calf is 24 hours old.
 

iowafarmer

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yeah just put it in his mouth with one hand keeping the mouth open so he doesnt bite the line and slowly let it go down the throat to the stomach, dont force it let it go down naturally, if you force it can end up in the lungs and you will drown them or get a lot of fluid in their lungs, then when you start the flow be ready to cut it off in case you did get it in the lungs. yes it will work if the calf is laying down but if he can stand up, have him stnad up adn stradle his neck, put his neck between your legs kind of like a head gate and hold him with your legs, and tube him
 
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grubbie

grubbie

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Yeah Ive bottle fed a lot of calves straddling them that way. I plan on trying it standing up but Im not sure its gonna happen, he's pretty weak and won't hold his legs under him for very long once I start trying to feed him.
 

djones

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As what iowafarmer said but I believe that you should keep the tube to the left side, (Straddling him your left side if standing in front of him your right). the tube should end up in the belly
 

Workinonit Farm

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They can be tubed with the calf laying down, I have done it that way a couple of times due to the calf not being able to stand. As djones stated, try keeping the tube towards the left side of the calf's throat. Just go slow and easy. The calf may resist this to a certain degree. He may 'cough' as the tube startsgoing down, then he should 'swallow'.

Don't forget to lubricate the end of the tube, its easier on their throat. KY or any food-grade lubricant should do.

Good luck grubbie, you can do it.

Katherine
 

Cowdirt

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Only thing I have to add is: if you're working alone, as I do most of the time, it is important that you have a place to hang the bag. This gives you one hand to hold the calf and tube and the other to clamp and unclamp the tube as needed.
 
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grubbie

grubbie

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I must have done okay, I could feel the ball in his throat when I got the tube down, figured I was good to go. Im thinking he would have let me know if I was dumping it into his lungs, he seems fine so far, give him another dose in the morning before work, another dose in the afternoon then turn him back out with Mama, suppose to warm up tomorrow. We had a nasty cold snap, when I found him he was frozen to the ground. Thanks for the quick replies everyone!
 

Workinonit Farm

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grubbie":3oobpe4z said:
I when I found him he was frozen to the ground.

Keep an eye on the parts of his body that were frozen to the ground. Hopefully there wasn't much/if any damage done to the skin and underlying tissues.

Glad the tubing went well.

Katherine
 
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grubbie

grubbie

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Thanks, been through this many times before. He is in good shape except his nose was frostbitten a bit. Hope it doesnt hinder his nursing, have to wait and see.
 

KNERSIE

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Just a few more tips...

Measure the distance from the calf's mouth to his last rib and make a mark on the tube, that is how far the tube need to go in, the lungs are closer so the tube won't be able to go in that far if you're in the wrong hole.
You must be able to feel the tube in his throat, if you can't its in the wrong hole.
Always start with just a little water, if its in the lungs he will cough. The little water is unlikely to cause much harm and pneumonia like electrolites for instance would do.
 
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grubbie

grubbie

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Hmmm, good tips. Unfortunately the feeder that I bought isn't long enough to do that. The tube is about 18" long. I can easily feel the end of the tube in his throat though. The water idea is a great tip, and I will use it next time. This time I was doing it by myself, and trying to hold the tube, calf's mouth open, calf, and refilling the bag with milk wasn't much of an option. Thanks again everyone for all the tips. Fed him again this morning and he is doing well so far.
 

Wick

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Just another tip, if you feel two tubes in the throat then its in the lungs, just one and your good to go. Have noticed after tube feeding it seems to make their throat sore from time to time.
 

msscamp

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Wick":1rr07xka said:
Just another tip, if you feel two tubes in the throat then its in the lungs, just one and your good to go. Have noticed after tube feeding it seems to make their throat sore from time to time.

Actually, I think you have that backwards. The trachea is a much more rigid structure than the throat is, and the tube cannot be felt if it is in the trachea.

You are correct on tubing making their throats sore, though.
 

KNERSIE

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msscamp":xhzc7se7 said:
Wick":xhzc7se7 said:
Just another tip, if you feel two tubes in the throat then its in the lungs, just one and your good to go. Have noticed after tube feeding it seems to make their throat sore from time to time.

Actually, I think you have that backwards. The trachea is a much more rigid structure than the throat is, and the tube cannot be felt if it is in the trachea.

You are correct on tubing making their throats sore, though.

Correct
 

rockridgecattle

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To add to the tips here, if you know that you are going to tube more than once, give a shot of a non steriod anti inflam or a couple of asprin down the throat. It will reduce the swelling in the throat.
 

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