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Unthrifty Calf

Luv4whippets

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So back at the end of May I bought a week old Jersey calf at the local sale. He had several bouts of diarrhea and pneumonia but each time we pulled him thru. As soon as it was warm enough and he was big enough to fend for himself, and eating grain I moved him to the pasture, it's been about since mid June. He has eaten, and eaten, and eaten and I have grained him every evening. I have also dewormed him 3 times, 3 weeks apart. I also castrated him several months ago. My problem is this he acts healthy but boy does he look terrible! He is not skinny, but he is lean, and has a HUGE belly. It doesn't look like a hay belly it looks like a bloated belly. He is bright, alert, and comes running when I call. Any ideas? Suggestions are welcome.
 

TexasBred

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Just sounds like a typical bottle fed Jersey calf to me. Keep feeding him and he'll at least grow but don't expect him to ever be "handsome".
 

dun

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Hoe much grain (pounds) are you giving him every evening?
 

milkmaid

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Calf that size still needs 2% of his body weight per day... 350lbs x 0.02 = 7lbs of grain per day.

Give him that and he'll look like you want him to look. Otherwise, just wait a year or so and when he gets older he'll eventually be in even proportions.
 

dun

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milkmaid":c85dixmn said:
Calf that size still needs 2% of his body weight per day... 350lbs x 0.02 = 7lbs of grain per day.

Give him that and he'll look like you want him to look. Otherwise, just wait a year or so and when he gets older he'll eventually be in even proportions.
And split it into 2 feedings a day
 

Luv4whippets

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Thanks
I'll slowly increase until we're back up to 2%. I had backed off because I half wondered if it was the cause of the bloating. Any suggestions on helping with the bloated look, and the sloshing sound?
 

Bez+

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Luv4whippets":xq0w6aif said:
So back at the end of May I bought a week old Jersey calf at the local sale. He had several bouts of diarrhea and pneumonia but each time we pulled him thru. As soon as it was warm enough and he was big enough to fend for himself, and eating grain I moved him to the pasture, it's been about since mid June. He has eaten, and eaten, and eaten and I have grained him every evening. I have also dewormed him 3 times, 3 weeks apart. I also castrated him several months ago. My problem is this he acts healthy but boy does he look terrible! He is not skinny, but he is lean, and has a HUGE belly. It doesn't look like a hay belly it looks like a bloated belly. He is bright, alert, and comes running when I call. Any ideas? Suggestions are welcome.

Any animal that has had several bouts with diarrhea and pneumonia at a young age will always be under developed in some way. Lung damage is pretty much permanent. Internal probs sometimes stay - you just cannot see them - perhaps nutrient absorption has been reduced as well.

I figure you got a pig in a poke and sinking more money into him will not make him pretty.

We've all done it once in our lives.

He is so far behind he may very well never catch up.

Feed him and wait to see - or toss him and start over.

Bez+
 

Luv4whippets

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Bez+ thanks for your reply. I am a failure at this so far, as he might not even make it to the table. Made the mistake of naming him and my husband now calls him my pet cow. I have really enjoyed having him out there and was pretty sure I could enjoy eating him too, but I'm not so sure now :( My main concern is not his looks but his health. He doesn't seem uncomfortable but man he looks it. I'll try to post a pic if I can figure it out again. Thanks again all!
 

backhoeboogie

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Have you ever heard the term or lyric, "Get along little doggy" ??? That is what you have on your hands with that big grass belly.

In the old days a "doggy" was an orphan. Toothpick legs and a huge grass belly from lack of nutrition. Most have that puppy with worms look to them. You can go to the sale barn and see dozens of doggied calves that were raised on a bottle. No one goes through the effort to try and get these calves back to normal, if it is possible.

A bottle calf raised with proper nutrition will not look like a doggy. It seems a lot of folks go through the motions with no intent of putting the effort or expense in to keeping them up. You'll also find a ton of bad information on bottle calves right here in this forum in my opinion.

There's no telling how many hundreds we have raised going back to my earliest childhood, nearly 50 years ago. Each year I graft several to my nurse cows too. I have NEVER lost one. People are going to come on here crying BS so let me say it again, I HAVE NEVER LOST A BOTTLE OR GRAFTED CALF. There are many in my herd now and they serve to gentle down the whole bunch. Most are larger than my average commercial cows. And yes most were grafts but at least 6 were bottle raised.

When they get proper feed, it costs pennies per day. The yield at the sale barn is much greater than flipping a doggy through the ring.
 

Luv4whippets

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Thanks for your reply Backhoeboogie. Since you have had such good luck with your bottle calves would you mind sharing your feeding regimen? What do you use for replacer? How much, often do you feed it? How long? How about grain? How much, how often? Deworming...age, frequency, preferred products, etc? Other supplements? Etc, atc... It would truly be appreciated. If you don't want to share with the whole class, would you mind PMing me? You see, I have really enjoyed spending countless hours in the barn and pouring my heart and soul into this calf and plan on doing it again. Anything you could share with me would be greatly appreciated.
 

Luv4whippets

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Thanks again all for your replies. I measured him with a weight tape and it says he is 333#. I also weighed how much grain I am giving him and it is 2.5#. This bag is 15% protein and is an "all-stock." The previous bags were calf grower (20%) that had bovitech (or the equivalent) in it. I really prefer to feed something that doesn't have medication in it and the mill near me only sells medicated feeds so I switched to the all stock from TSC. (I got a little worried when I read the bag and it said the medication is poisonous to the chickens....not that I'm feeding it to the chickens but I was worried about the husband or daughter accidentally doing so.) I'm wondering if that in itself is the problem. What do you all think of feed additives? When we had horses we would add cocasoya. Could I add some Calf Manna? Would something like that help or should I go back to the bovitech feed? I am feeling really bad here, as it appears that even though my calf is growing he is suffering from malnutrition. Thanks again!
 

backhoeboogie

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Milkmaid has a thread up top addressing bottle calves. There's not a better way to express it. Good advice.

In addition to that, I don't use buckets and use an all dairy replacement when its available.

Massage the heck out of lethargic calves with a towel and it stimulates them pretty much the way they are stimulated with the cows are licking on them.

Most all the rest is a case by case basis.
 

S&WSigma40VEShooter

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backhoeboogie":3ieu2c6r said:
Milkmaid has a thread up top addressing bottle calves. There's not a better way to express it. Good advice.

In addition to that, I don't use buckets and use an all dairy replacement when its available.

Massage the heck out of lethargic calves with a towel and it stimulates them pretty much the way they are stimulated with the cows are licking on them.

Most all the rest is a case by case basis.


Wagyus
 

Luv4whippets

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Thanks guys, I did read Milkmaids post. What I am trying to do here is correct a problem. I have a calf with hay belly and am looking for suggestions on how to feed him from here on out. He is over 5 mos old now and hasn't been pot bellied until maybe the last month? What I hoping for is suggestions on where to go from here.
Thanks
 

Bez+

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backhoeboogie":1u4stuwj said:
There's no telling how many hundreds we have raised going back to my earliest childhood, nearly 50 years ago. Each year I graft several to my nurse cows too. I have NEVER lost one. People are going to come on here crying BS so let me say it again, I HAVE NEVER LOST A BOTTLE OR GRAFTED CALF.

Well, you would be the only person I have ever heard say this - so I would suggest I am all ears.

If any other long term person can make this brag I want to hear from them as well.

Send us your secrets

Bez+
 

dun

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Luv4whippets":3q8oq0w5 said:
Thanks guys, I did read Milkmaids post. What I am trying to do here is correct a problem. I have a calf with hay belly and am looking for suggestions on how to feed him from here on out. He is over 5 mos old now and hasn't been pot bellied until maybe the last month? What I hoping for is suggestions on where to go from here.
Thanks
If you gradually ramp him up (over a couple of weeks) to around 2% of his body weight of a 16% grain and cut his hay back he'll improve. But it will take longer to get rid of it then it did for him to get it. Keep him on 2% till you butcher him.
 

backhoeboogie

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Bez+":2f5g0gns said:
backhoeboogie":2f5g0gns said:
There's no telling how many hundreds we have raised going back to my earliest childhood, nearly 50 years ago. Each year I graft several to my nurse cows too. I have NEVER lost one. People are going to come on here crying BS so let me say it again, I HAVE NEVER LOST A BOTTLE OR GRAFTED CALF.

Well, you would be the only person I have ever heard say this - so I would suggest I am all ears.

If any other long term person can make this brag I want to hear from them as well.

Send us your secrets

Bez+

Generally speaking Bez, do no more than 12 at a time and group them by size. Keep everything clean etc etc. There's nothing I can tell in your this regard that you don't already know. Its best not to buy them from the sale barn because they have been exposed to everything etc. etc.

Lately I have been buying split calves off of pairs and grafting to my nurse cow and these calves are already on their way. The last two were 115 lbs so it is not fair to use them as examples. They have had natural colostrums. So I will describe my worst case ever. Each one is a unique situation. I treat them that way.

My neighbor with the problem fence jumping angus bull is how it started. His bull got in to my heifer pasture and bred some. One was 6 1/2 months old when bred as best I can figure. 3 months after that her health began to degrade and I suspect hardware poison. She was way too small to calve when the time came.

I got the call while I was working 12 hour shifts refueling a nuke unit. Brother-in-law decided to pull the calf and told me it was dead. I got there an hour later. The calf's nose was dry and the heifer (now cow) was down and there was no getting her up. The calf was not dead. It just looked like it.

I hauled the calf to my house 22 miles away in the back seat of the truck. Every one was telling me it would not make it. I stopped at the feed store enroute home and picked up some replacer, just in case. It was pouring rain and cold so I took it in the house and laid it on feed sacks at the back hall entry. I took colostrums out of the freezer and began thawing it in hot water in the kitchen sink. (never microwave it) I held the calf on his feet between my legs and force fed him about a pint. His neck and chin was held up and I mechanically moved his jaw with my left hand to get that pint down him.

I then took a towel and began to vigorously clean him up. It was pretty much like a rough massage. The heifer/cow had not stood to clean him. Massaging a calf like that stimulates them pretty much the same way they are stimulated when the dam cleans them. You'fe seen it over and over Bez. Just imitate what the cow does. After cleaning him up and massaging the dickens out of him, he took two more pints of colostrum. At that point I no longer decided he was a goner.

He got a vigorous massage and couple of pints of colostrum about 6 hours later.

The next a.m. I moved a stock trailer into the drive and tarped it because ice was coming down. He went into the trailer with old hay placed on the floor for bedding. I started him on milk replacer and the rest is history.

My guess is not many folks would have given that calf a bit of hope when they initially saw it. I did not have much hope myself.

Sheer determination to save one does it for me. The towel massage thing helps too. Good meds, good feed, good replacer, natural surplus colostrum from a nurse cow, clean pens, close attention, and immediate treatment for any thing you find that ails them.

I can tell other unique stories about other calves.
 

SRBeef

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I have a very good neighbor who is a dairy farmer with Jersey cows. He keeps a few replacement heifers and steers in a field near one of mine so see them across the fence fairly often. I swear the Jerseys alway look like they are about to die from malnutrition!

Even though I know these are very well cared for with lots of good pasture available etc. Another knowledgeable neighbor says that's just the way Jersey's look! They are not a beef breed. Standing next to one of our Herefords the Jerseys look underfed and sometimes a bit pot bellied. But isn't that just the way they are, especially maybe a growing calf? Why does a 350 lb calf need a couple pounds of grain a day in the first place?

I'm not an expert but it seems like even though a Jersey looks "boney" that's the way they are. Compared to Herefords, these Jersey nearby could definitely be called "unthrifty" but from what it seems, isn't that just pretty much the way they are? They are dairy animals, not beef animals.

Jim
 

backhoeboogie

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Dairy and beef have obvious differences.

A calf that is properly raised on a bottle with the right nutrition will not look much different than a calf that is not raised on a bottle, of the same breed.

On the grain and grass issue you raised - calves take in a lot of milk protein. Most grasses don't contain that level of protein. A growing calf that is weaned early needs protein (and other things) to properly develop. If they are not properly growing out and developing, over eating grass to try and compensate, they get a grass belly and begin to look like a doggy.

Dun's advice was dead on as usual.
 

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