Do's and dont's of bottle calves

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5S Cattle
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Do's and dont's of bottle calves

Postby 5S Cattle » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:13 pm

Had to pull a bull calf out of a first calf Hereford last night(front leg back). Anways, this dude doesn't want anything to do with trying to nurse. I tubed him last night and this morning. Just had mom in the chute and I milked her a bit and rubbed her tears and his nose with it. Nothing. That's all I've ever done in the past. Need suggestions
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Re: Do's and dont's of bottle calves

Postby TCRanch » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:32 pm

If he's not even attempting to nurse and you had to pull him I'm assuming he's dystocia and most likely has a swollen head/tongue? Does he even attempt to suck on your finger if you stick it in his mouth? I give calves like that a shot of Vitamin B Complex for energy, Banamine to help reduce swelling and Nursemate ASAP. You'll probably have to continue to tube him while you train him to nurse &/or take a bottle. Next time mama's in the chute, secure him with your legs, hold his head, guide it to the teat and literally open his mouth with your fingers & put her teat inside. Hold his head/clamp down on his mouth (not hard) so he doesn't pull away and squeeze the teat so he gets a taste of her milk. If this doesn't get him interested, stimulate his mouth/sucking reflex by moving her teat in-n-out, just a little. Good luck!
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Re: Do's and dont's of bottle calves

Postby Son of Butch » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:32 pm

IF lethargic give him a bottle of 5 hour energy. Face swelling will reduce at same rate with or without Banamine.
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Re: Do's and dont's of bottle calves

Postby 5S Cattle » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:48 pm

He's pretty shaky, face is still a little swollen. Tubed him again this afternoon with purina milk replacer. Momma doesn't have much milk. I'm gonna haul him to a nurse cow at my buddies ranch tomorrow. One of the guys said he'd bottle him til he's good to go on the nurse cow. Momma is coming to a burger near you soon. 3 times a day normal for feeding them?
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Re: Do's and dont's of bottle calves

Postby farmerjan » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:09 pm

3x a day is good but not more than 2 qts max. Most dairies are now feeding 3 qts twice a day to calves. Sure, he would get more on a nurse cow but in smaller amounts at a time. An average calf bottle = 2qts. I feed about 2 1/2 to 3 qts per feeding to my bottle calves after they are a few days old and I am sure they are not scouring. I feed twice a day due to time and work constraints. The calves on the nurse cows get all they want/all she has. If you feed 3x a day then I would probably cut back to about 1 1/2 qt per feeding to see how it is doing. This calf is at a bit of a disadvantage due to the difficult birth. Less is better until the calf is really "up and going".
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Re: Do's and dont's of bottle calves

Postby 5S Cattle » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:53 pm

farmerjan wrote:3x a day is good but not more than 2 qts max. Most dairies are now feeding 3 qts twice a day to calves. Sure, he would get more on a nurse cow but in smaller amounts at a time. An average calf bottle = 2qts. I feed about 2 1/2 to 3 qts per feeding to my bottle calves after they are a few days old and I am sure they are not scouring. I feed twice a day due to time and work constraints. The calves on the nurse cows get all they want/all she has. If you feed 3x a day then I would probably cut back to about 1 1/2 qt per feeding to see how it is doing. This calf is at a bit of a disadvantage due to the difficult birth. Less is better until the calf is really "up and going".

I'm doing 2 qts twice a day as it is. He's doing better all the time. Wasn't sure if i was feeding enough. Thanks for the info!
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Re: Do's and dont's of bottle calves

Postby farmerjan » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:17 pm

Sounds like the calf is doing okay if you are feeding 2 qts 2x a day. The thing with doing up to 3 qts 2x a day is they seem to grow better having gotten a better start. The downside to that is they often take longer to want to try solid feed - like grain. But face it, a calf on a beef cow will start following what momma does at a week or two, but they don't get any real amount of feed from the grass or hay they are trying until they are 2-3 months old. So I would max out at 3 qts 2x a day. Another thing, it is cheaper to stick with 2 qts 2x a day and get them to start eating grain and then hay. Milk replacer is expensive, grain is a better "buy" once they get to eating it. Most calves on dairies are weaned in the 6-10 week range and are eating 2% of their body weight. So a 100 lb calf is eating 2 lbs of grain a day. Most are more than 100 lbs at weaning, but I deal with alot of jerseys and crosses and they are for the most part just smaller. Still, I like to see them eating more than 2% when they are getting weaned.

Glad he is doing better all the time.
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Re: Do's and dont's of bottle calves

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:33 am

Did you give him colostrum replacement or supplement? I would give him Selenium. All newborns get Selenium here. Used to use BoSe but use Multimin now. Both must come from the vet. Lack of SE affects the large muscles - like the tongue.
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