New to Forum with a calf question.

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WillowFarm
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New to Forum with a calf question.

Postby WillowFarm » Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:32 pm

Hi all,

Brand new to the forum and this is my first post. I was born and raised on a farm and learned many things from the experiences, but the cows were always my father's area. He passed away suddenly a little over a year ago and their care now falls upon myself and my family. We have been doing real well since then, dividing the chores to make sure the animals are well cared for. We had our first real problem last week.

We own 10 White Faced Herfords. We had 5 new births in 2005 that went off without a hitch. The first calf of 2006 was born on 1/29/06. The new calf and her mom seemed fine after the first day. We noticed nothing abnormal until we noticed some swelling in the mothers vaginal area the next day. We were going to call the vet the next day, but unfortunatly thats when she died. Since she went so suddenly, we think she may have had twins and the second calf breeched as she was very swollen in the vaginal area by the third day.

Now, we are bottle feeding her calf. We have her in the calfing pen in the barn. She is in excellent condition. Alert, bright eyed with a lot of energy. After the inital bottle feeding, she has calmed right down and acts more like a big dog than a calf. She had 3 days of feeding from the mother until she died. We're feeding her 3 qrts twice a day of medicated milk replacer. 14 oz of milk replacer are added to the 3 quarts of warm water. We're also trying to introduce some calf starter to her, but she doesn't want to hear it yet at only a week old. She wants her milk. She'll tear through the 2qt bottle in no time and wants more.

My question is, is 3 qrts too much ? She has no problem downing it. The recommended dosage is 2 to 2.5 quarts but this didn't seem to touch her appetite. She'll rub and bump us for more when the bottle is empty. We'd like to keep the feedings to 2 times a day instead of 3 as nobody is home during the day.

Is the 3 quarts alright ? Or should it be more if she'll take it ? Or should we cut it back to the 2/2.5 ? Also, how long should she stay on the milk replacer ? We have a 50lb bag and we were advised to go through the whole thing.

Also, since this is the first time in a LONG time we have had to raise a calf without it's mother, is there anything we should be looking out for as far as trouble signs go ?

Thanks,

Ted
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Re: New to Forum with a calf question.

Postby Bez! » Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:36 pm

WillowFarm wrote:Hi all,

Brand new to the forum and this is my first post. I was born and raised on a farm and learned many things from the experiences, but the cows were always my father's area. He passed away suddenly a little over a year ago and their care now falls upon myself and my family. We have been doing real well since then, dividing the chores to make sure the animals are well cared for. We had our first real problem last week.

We own 10 White Faced Herfords. We had 5 new births in 2005 that went off without a hitch. The first calf of 2006 was born on 1/29/06. The new calf and her mom seemed fine after the first day. We noticed nothing abnormal until we noticed some swelling in the mothers vaginal area the next day. We were going to call the vet the next day, but unfortunatly thats when she died. Since she went so suddenly, we think she may have had twins and the second calf breeched as she was very swollen in the vaginal area by the third day.

Now, we are bottle feeding her calf. We have her in the calfing pen in the barn. She is in excellent condition. Alert, bright eyed with a lot of energy. After the inital bottle feeding, she has calmed right down and acts more like a big dog than a calf. She had 3 days of feeding from the mother until she died. We're feeding her 3 qrts twice a day of medicated milk replacer. 14 oz of milk replacer are added to the 3 quarts of warm water. We're also trying to introduce some calf starter to her, but she doesn't want to hear it yet at only a week old. She wants her milk. She'll tear through the 2qt bottle in no time and wants more.

My question is, is 3 qrts too much ? She has no problem downing it. The recommended dosage is 2 to 2.5 quarts but this didn't seem to touch her appetite. She'll rub and bump us for more when the bottle is empty. We'd like to keep the feedings to 2 times a day instead of 3 as nobody is home during the day.

Is the 3 quarts alright ? Or should it be more if she'll take it ? Or should we cut it back to the 2/2.5 ? Also, how long should she stay on the milk replacer ? We have a 50lb bag and we were advised to go through the whole thing.

Also, since this is the first time in a LONG time we have had to raise a calf without it's mother, is there anything we should be looking out for as far as trouble signs go ?

Thanks,

Ted


I tend to give the bottle calves to the kids - who are in school at present - so I cannot ask their opinion - or in fact I give them away.

Too much trouble for what they are worth in my opinion.

Be that as it may, send a private message (pm) to Milk Maid or to msscamp.

Both of them - and a few others that I cannot think of at present - are quite capable and acknowledged on this board as the "go to" folks for this type of request.

Good luck and welcome,

Bez!
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Postby Lammie » Tue Feb 07, 2006 4:03 pm

I am new to this myself. Welcome. I am bottle feeding two calves right now. There are directions on the bag of the milk replacer. 4-7 days gets 6 oz of milk replacer mixed with 2 quarts of water, about 100 degrees. When they are 8 - 21 days, they get 8 oz, and then back to 6 oz from then to weaning. When mine got scours, I bought electrolytes and just mixed that with warm water and gave that to them for 2 feedings. They only scoured once, though. There's a measurment cup in the bag. Use it for measuring the powder, as for some reason, a regular measuring cup, like the one I started out using, isn't enough milk replacer! Mine also says that if it gets especially cold you can add a feeding. Don't know where you are from, but I take that to mean if it gets much colder than usual for whatever area you happen to be in.

Keep water in the pen for her to drink when she wants. Offer her some calf starter in her trough. She'll nibble on that. I keep some hay in the barn, too. Mine have been nibbling on it. I also turn mine out when it is nice and let them exercise. All that stuff should be on the tag of the milk replacer.

I posted a similar thread in the beginners section. I got all kinds of good suggestions from these folks.

Good luck. I'm having fun with mine!
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Postby WillowFarm » Tue Feb 07, 2006 4:28 pm

Thanks for the welcome and quick response ! :D

Thanks also for the references to check out. I'll do that. She has some fresh calf starter in her pen, and will eat some of it out of our hands, but that's about it at this point. She'll also nibble on some hay if we hold it for her. Guess that's not too bad for only one week old. We'll continue to encourage her to eat them.

We're located in the Northeast in Southern New England, where it can get pretty cold. We are entering a bit of a cold snap, so that's why we have up'd her amount a bit. We want to turn her out to get some exercise, but think it may be a bear at this point to get her back in. When her mom died, she got out of the pasture and was missing for a day. We don't want to take the chance just yet of losing her again. Maybe in a couple more weeks when she is more used to us and knows we are the ones who feed her.

Thanks again. I'm glad I found this forum.

Ted
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Postby Bez! » Tue Feb 07, 2006 4:35 pm

WillowFarm wrote:Thanks for the welcome and quick response ! :D

Thanks also for the references to check out. I'll do that. She has some fresh calf starter in her pen, and will eat some of it out of our hands, but that's about it at this point.

She will not eat much of this at her age either - she needs liquid food. In fact she can survive on this alone for a long while yet.

She'll also nibble on some hay if we hold it for her. Guess that's not too bad for only one week old. We'll continue to encourage her to eat them.

Yeah she will nibble - but get no nutrition from it at her age.

We're located in the Northeast in Southern New England, where it can get pretty cold. We are entering a bit of a cold snap, so that's why we have up'd her amount a bit. We want to turn her out to get some exercise, but think it may be a bear at this point to get her back in.

You feed her three times a day and she will come to you - especially if she is in a smaller pen or field. Do not be afraid to turn her out no matter the temp. Lots of calves are born around here on snow. She just needs to stay dry and out of the wind.

When her mom died, she got out of the pasture and was missing for a day. We don't want to take the chance just yet of losing her again. Maybe in a couple more weeks when she is more used to us and knows we are the ones who feed her.

I figure it will be less than a week and she will come to you on the run.

Thanks again. I'm glad I found this forum.

Ted
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Postby WillowFarm » Tue Feb 07, 2006 5:29 pm

Thanks BEZ !

Great info. Much appreciated.

Ted
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Postby Bez! » Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:40 pm

WillowFarm wrote:Thanks BEZ !

Great info. Much appreciated.

Ted


No prob. Get hold of one of the ladies I mentioned - they will not lead you astray.

Bez!
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Postby shutskytj » Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:39 am

Welcome Ted I am also from Souther NE I live in Montville Ct. the town where the Mohegan Sun is in where are you in RI I dated a girl from RI before. Also I don't know if you have coyote problems but I tend to leave my calves in for ~ 3 weeks and have never had a problem especially when she doesn't have mama to protect her. I have Reg. Polled Herefords and Angus myself
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calves

Postby holly heifer » Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:57 am

:lol: Hi-- I raise anywhere from 3 to 6 bottle calves every
year. The local beef farmers drop them off at my door, usually
half dead :roll: I keep mine on milk replacer for 2 months.
Get a good calf starter and right after they take the bottle,
put some feed in your hand and just poke a little bit in the
front of the mouth. In about 4-5 days they will start to nibble
at in in the feed pan. Before you know it they will be eating
it! ;-) Mine also eat hay when about 3 days old. Be very
careful with the bottles- Do not let them drink fast ( a small
hole in the nipple is best) They can get milk in their lungs and cause aspiration pneumonia ( Baytril clears this up-- from vet
is not an over the counter med) Keep your bottles clean!
Do not overfeed the milk. They will get scours and you will have to dilute your milk. Bacterial scours can be fatal and the calf will dehydrate quickly. Feed or tube electrolytes, give
sulfa tablets disssolved in the solution, or with a calf balling
gun. I have saved some really sick calves, one has gone on
to be a really good cow and has produced very nice calves.
Another was a 4-H starter calf and also is doing great. :D
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Re: calves

Postby WillowFarm » Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:45 am

holly heifer wrote::lol: Hi-- I raise anywhere from 3 to 6 bottle calves every
year. The local beef farmers drop them off at my door, usually
half dead :roll: I keep mine on milk replacer for 2 months.
Get a good calf starter and right after they take the bottle,
put some feed in your hand and just poke a little bit in the
front of the mouth. In about 4-5 days they will start to nibble
at in in the feed pan. Before you know it they will be eating
it! ;-) Mine also eat hay when about 3 days old. Be very
careful with the bottles- Do not let them drink fast ( a small
hole in the nipple is best) They can get milk in their lungs and cause aspiration pneumonia ( Baytril clears this up-- from vet
is not an over the counter med) Keep your bottles clean!
Do not overfeed the milk. They will get scours and you will have to dilute your milk. Bacterial scours can be fatal and the calf will dehydrate quickly. Feed or tube electrolytes, give
sulfa tablets disssolved in the solution, or with a calf balling
gun. I have saved some really sick calves, one has gone on
to be a really good cow and has produced very nice calves.
Another was a 4-H starter calf and also is doing great. :D


shutskytj: We're located in Cranston, the western rural part. Growing up there, you could count the cars that passed by on one hand during the course of the day. Now, that many pass by in less than a minute as it is much more built up. We have seen a coyote on the property about a year ago, but haven't had much problem with them. We know they are there, they haven't bothered the animals yet.

Holly heifer: That was some great info you passed along. Thanks ! :D We are already doing the majority of the things you had suggested. Her bottle is sterilized after each feeding and her pen is kept clean with fresh calf starter in her feed pan. And of course her water is changed daily. After her bottle, we hold some calf starter in our hands and she'll nibbles at it. We also got her to nibble at some hay as well. I'm especially glad you mentioned the part about feeding her milk too fast. She can really down it if we let her. The nibble hole is pretty small. She sometimes collapses it and we have to withdraw the bottle. We feed her with a 2 qt bottle with the corresponding nibble attached. Currently, she gets 3qts mixed with 20oz of medicated Milk Replacer in the morning and 3qts of the same mixture at night. We can't do the three feedings of 2qts as nobody is available during the day. We increased her feeding from 4 qts daily to 6qts as we are going through a bit of a cold spell now. Is this a satisfactory program ?

BTW, that is a great thing you are doing with the calfs that the other farmes don't want. They are living things too and deserve a chance. If you spend enough time with them, they can become as friendly as the family dog. :D Keep up the good work !

All the best,

Ted
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Postby shutskytj » Thu Feb 09, 2006 6:42 am

I have good freinds that live near exeter the Oatleys they use to buy and raise some of the best show steers around. There son actually fits for Star Lake Cattle when they go to Denver. You are only about an hour from me. The coyotes haven't bothered our animals yet either but I still do it for precaution I think they have enough Turkeys around to eat.
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Postby Central Fl Cracker » Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:20 am

shutskytj wrote:I have good freinds that live near exeter the Oatleys they use to buy and raise some of the best show steers around. There son actually fits for Star Lake Cattle when they go to Denver. You are only about an hour from me. The coyotes haven't bothered our animals yet either but I still do it for precaution I think they have enough Turkeys around to eat.

Here in FL we just have to worry about alligators no coyotes. :lol:
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Re: calves

Postby milkmaid » Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:33 am

WillowFarm wrote:We feed her with a 2 qt bottle with the corresponding nibble attached. Currently, she gets 3qts mixed with 20oz of medicated Milk Replacer in the morning and 3qts of the same mixture at night. We can't do the three feedings of 2qts as nobody is available during the day. We increased her feeding from 4 qts daily to 6qts as we are going through a bit of a cold spell now. Is this a satisfactory program ?


Keep an eye on her to make sure she doesn't start scouring. You've really upped the amount of actual milk replacer and she's only what, a week old? I would personally stick with the 2 quarts per feeding, twice a day, for at least another week or so.

Bottle calves always want more milk so you can't go by that. You'd be surprised at the amount of milk they'll drink before they physically cannot take in anymore. I mean gallons, plural, in one feeding - and it sure isn't good for them. Better to stay on the safe side of too little than too much.

As far as problems - lack of appetite is usually the first one you'll see. Any change from her normal attitude.
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Re: calves

Postby WillowFarm » Thu Feb 09, 2006 12:07 pm

milkmaid wrote:Keep an eye on her to make sure she doesn't start scouring. You've really upped the amount of actual milk replacer and she's only what, a week old? I would personally stick with the 2 quarts per feeding, twice a day, for at least another week or so.


Hi milkmaid,

Thanks for the info ! The calf is almost two weeks old at this point. Her stools are still well formed at this point.

We're giving her two feedings a day. 3 qts in the morning, and 3 qts at night for a total of 6 qts per day. We're doing it this way because nobody is available to do a feeding in the afternoon, or else we would give her the 2qts per feeding three times a day, morning noon and night. Plus, we're in a fairly cold snap with overnight lows getting into the teens. Do we still need to cut back a bit ?

Thanks again for the advice. Much appreciated.

Ted
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Re: calves

Postby milkmaid » Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:16 pm

WillowFarm wrote:Hi milkmaid,

Thanks for the info ! The calf is almost two weeks old at this point. Her stools are still well formed at this point.

We're giving her two feedings a day. 3 qts in the morning, and 3 qts at night for a total of 6 qts per day. We're doing it this way because nobody is available to do a feeding in the afternoon, or else we would give her the 2qts per feeding three times a day, morning noon and night. Plus, we're in a fairly cold snap with overnight lows getting into the teens. Do we still need to cut back a bit ?

Thanks again for the advice. Much appreciated.

Ted


I don't recall ever having fed a healthy calf more than twice a day (just isn't necessary), so I wouldn't worry about being unable to feed three times a day.

If her manure is still looking good and normal, then you're probably OK with the amount you're feeding right now - but I would be reluctant to "up" it any more than you already have at this age.
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Basics needed to answer questions: age, weight, breed, sex. # affected vs # in group, feed type/amount, prior vaccinations, deworming, antibiotics, any recent changes....

More info = better answers.


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