3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

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LizHartley1991
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3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby LizHartley1991 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:02 pm

About three days ago, one of our cows had 2 calves. Unfortunately one died and the mama freaked out and abandoned the body along with the other calf. I named her Mira (short for Miracle).

Mira was brought to me to try to care for. In the past I had a 4-6 week premature calf that I was able to raise back to health after getting it a steroid shot and a pill (Can’t recall the pill since it’s been eight years).

Mira is very small. I have a full grown Boxer that weighs more and is almost bigger than her. I can feel her ribs when I pet her. Her fur feels soft if not a little dry. Her eyes are red tinted and slightly glassy with some wetness coming out (It looks like tears). She can open her eyes but she often looks scared and wide eyed.

Mira can stand. At first she could only stand if we picked her up. Now she’s able to get up, though she doesn’t stay standing for long. She lays down and is lethargic like.

I have gotten Mira a shot from our vet and got colostrum in her. I’ve also gotten electrolyte and pick me up formula inside her. She seems to want to eat the hay lying around her but only nudges it with her nose and tongue. Her tongue also occasionally just wants to poke out a bit.

I’m wonder if she may have a form of scours. Or if the birthing was just that traumatic that she’s in shock? She tries to get up and explore but then plops back down and curls up in a ball.

Her nose is wet and I’ve tried the dehydration test on her - pinching around the neck and checking her eyes etc. - and while she doesn’t seem dehydrated I can just tell she’s not getting enough to eat or drink. I get the bottle of replacement formula in her and she’ll suck with vigor for awhile but then just stops and rips the bottle away or tries to get away from it. That’s when her tongue sticks out the most is after these feedings...

I’m worried it is scour and that I’m not giving her enough help. But the vet - at the last visit on Mira’s first day - said she’d need a lot of tlc and that the next 72 Hours were crucial to getting her going... I feel like I’m failing her and it’s frustrating.

The only thing I haven’t tried it bucket feeding. I have a bucket ready to try but she seems freaked out by it... The other step is a feeding tube down her, but I’m actually terrified to try that because I’ve never done it before and I’d be terrified of hurt her...

I’m hoping maybe you all have some suggestions? It’s only my second calf...
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Re: 3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby Rafter S » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:48 pm

At that age all she needs is milk, no hay or other feed. Make sure you're giving her a good quality milk replacer instead of whatever is cheapest, and follow the directions. You won't be doing the calf any favors by giving it more than what's recommended.
Hopefully someone that's raised more bottle calves than I have will respond, but this should get you started.
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Re: 3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby Supa Dexta » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:06 pm

Its a baby, put food in it and let it sleep. That food is milk, and the amount depends on its size - but a couple litres a couple times a day atleast. You're over thinking the rest.
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Re: 3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby Craig Miller » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:14 pm

They won't usually just stand there and drink at first. I like to straddle the calf with its head between my legs and put the bottle in. That way I have some control over their calf and can keep it there to eat.
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Re: 3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby LizHartley1991 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:02 am

Supa Dexta wrote:Its a baby, put food in it and let it sleep. That food is milk, and the amount depends on its size - but a couple litres a couple times a day atleast. You're over thinking the rest.

Over thinking is kinda my specialty so I’m not gonna disagree with you there! I’m a bleeding heart. I get flustered sometimes awhen things don’t work out like I’m expecting to... Bit thanks for the comment.
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Re: 3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby LizHartley1991 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:04 am

Rafter S wrote:At that age all she needs is milk, no hay or other feed. Make sure you're giving her a good quality milk replacer instead of whatever is cheapest, and follow the directions. You won't be doing the calf any favors by giving it more than what's recommended.
Hopefully someone that's raised more bottle calves than I have will respond, but this should get you started.

Do you know a good brand of replacement milk to start with? I don’t have the bag in front of me but the one I got was forty bucks and to me it read right like the last time I did this...
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Re: 3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby LizHartley1991 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:07 am

Craig Miller wrote:They won't usually just stand there and drink at first. I like to straddle the calf with its head between my legs and put the bottle in. That way I have some control over their calf and can keep it there to eat.

I’ve been able to get her to take better when I help her stand up and make her back up into a corner. I straddle her and then I have to force open her mouth to get the bottle in. She sucks and gets going but the whole time her little tongue is fighting like she’s trying to push the bottle out or get her tongue free... But she’s started drinking a pint. The most I got was two in so far but sometimes- more often really - she does not want that bottle in her mouth...
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Re: 3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby cowgirl8 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:09 am

You'll have to tube her, but don't give up on the bottle. Sometimes it just takes a long time to get them to nurse. Cut a bigger hole in the bottle so even if she fights it, milk gets in her mouth and she has to swallow. Sometimes doing that helps a lot. But, if you cant get it in her via a bottle, you have to tube it down. You do have to be careful with the smaller calves though. Make sure you have someone to help hold her so she doesn't struggle too much and make sure the tuber end isn't all chewed up where it will scratch going in.
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Re: 3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby LizHartley1991 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:28 am

Update: I tried straddling her a little better this time and changed thenipple on the bottle. The first time I got about two pints in her. The second time one and a half. The third time almost a full three ounces. This time she even sort of tried to find the nipple if I pulled away to check how much she drank and didn’t have to force her mouth so much. I think it’s like most of you said; she’s a Baby and I’m overthinking.

Still concerned about the tongue. And now I’m wanting to figure out how to help her be warmer. It’s getting colder where I am and while the barn we have her in has hay and we have covers for her, it still gets cold and this barn is very old and a good bit of the coolness gets in. And I can’t get a heater in here cause she might bump it since her eyesight seems to be pretty weak. And if I try covering her up she just ends up moving again anyway... I just keep laying down hay for her and even moved a few bales for her to lay against. She seems to like that a bit...
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Re: 3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby Rafter S » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:47 am

Where are you, and how cold is it getting?
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Re: 3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby dun » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:07 am

As to brand of replacer, there are a lot of good brands. The requirements are NO SOY only milk and milk byproducts and a minimum of 20% fat and 20% protein.
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Re: 3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby TCRanch » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:32 am

Mira sounds a lot like my Tator Tot, who was a preemie, weighing only 40 lbs (that's her in my lap/avatar pic). I was fortunate she had a caring mama but she couldn't stand or nurse. She was so tiny I couldn't even tube her because the ball on the end of the tube was too big so I used small, soft/pliable, clear rubber tube & pumped the colostrum/subsequent replacer from a bucket. Helped her gain strength by holding her between my legs in a standing position and continuing to support her while taking a few steps at a time. She was eventually able to nurse after I would stand her up but her mama wasn't producing much and because she also had the "floppy tongue" I supplemented with a bottle. As Dun mentioned, NO SOY. And keep in mind, Mira is a tiny baby so she won't eat & doesn't need as much - don't over-feed her.

As far as keeping her warm, you may want to try a calf coat or even a dog coat.

I know it's frustrating! But you're doing a great job! And at least Mira will take a bottle/able to suck. My only other suggestion is Vitamin B Complex for energy.

Tator Tot was able to join the herd when she was 6 weeks old. She still had balance issues but eventually grew out of it. And she's due with her 3rd calf in March!
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Re: 3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby LizHartley1991 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:10 am

Rafter S wrote:Where are you, and how cold is it getting?

I live in Missouri and it can get as low as negative 20 here. The extra cooler nights are just starting and that’s what I’m concerned for
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Re: 3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby LizHartley1991 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:23 am

TCRanch wrote:Mira sounds a lot like my Tator Tot, who was a preemie, weighing only 40 lbs (that's her in my lap/avatar pic). I was fortunate she had a caring mama but she couldn't stand or nurse. She was so tiny I couldn't even tube her because the ball on the end of the tube was too big so I used small, soft/pliable, clear rubber tube & pumped the colostrum/subsequent replacer from a bucket. Helped her gain strength by holding her between my legs in a standing position and continuing to support her while taking a few steps at a time. She was eventually able to nurse after I would stand her up but her mama wasn't producing much and because she also had the "floppy tongue" I supplemented with a bottle. As Dun mentioned, NO SOY. And keep in mind, Mira is a tiny baby so she won't eat & doesn't need as much - don't over-feed her.

As far as keeping her warm, you may want to try a calf coat or even a dog coat.

I know it's frustrating! But you're doing a great job! And at least Mira will take a bottle/able to suck. My only other suggestion is Vitamin B Complex for energy.

Tator Tot was able to join the herd when she was 6 weeks old. She still had balance issues but eventually grew out of it. And she's due with her 3rd calf in March!

Tater Tot is an adorable name! And sounds so small. But it sounds similar to Mira. She weighs probably 65 pounds. I can pick her up without much trouble... And she can walk around on her own if not with stubby and swaying steps. She can also get herself on her feet. She’s moving. But it’s like she can’t understand what’s going on. Her eyes are very wide and wild and sometimes they’ll roll back a bit while she’s sucking the bottle. She has drool and her little tongue keeps sticking out but she’s not fighting the bottle as much. She also didn’t like the colostrum so that could’ve been apart of it in the beginning. And I’ve taken to giving her an electrolyte pick me up drink once a day since I heard trying to give them the pick me up with the formula would hurt their bellies.

She’s going pee and her poops are still a bit runny but she’s not pooping so much that I’m scared of dehydration... That’s my biggest concern is dehydration and getting her warm.

Since she’s taking the bottle I don’t think tubing would be necessary but I’m glad you suggested the small tube idea. That sounds less terrifying than the feeder tube I was looking to use if I needed to.

I’m no farmer. I grew up on a farm and ran around the land and cows my whole life but I’m no farmer and have barely any clue what I’m doing. I take care of human infants for a living right now and I guess I need to keep in mind that Mira is like them; little and new, no matter how big.

I think the main thing I’ll be watching is her poop and how much she can drink (I’m sticking to 3 Pints a setting for now and if she makes it past two weeks I’ll bump it to 4 unless she starts showing signs of wanting more).

I’ll definitely look into a dog coat! That’s very clever I would’ve never thought of that. If nothing I have a tone of okd and very bulky sweaters I could try putting on her too. Thank you, hun! And congrats to Tater Tot
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Re: 3 Day Old Cow Wont Eat

Postby dun » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:55 pm

LizHartley1991 wrote:
Rafter S wrote:Where are you, and how cold is it getting?

I live in Missouri and it can get as low as negative 20 here. The extra cooler nights are just starting and that’s what I’m concerned for

Deep bedded in straw and out of the wind and drafts is all that is really needed. If you really worry about it, those condtions with a heat lamp a couple of feet above her will work. Just make sure she doesn;t get too hot.
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