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calf won't take bottle

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:33 am
by Susie David
Had a moment of weakness at the sale last monday and bought a 175 # bull calf out of a young heifer, the pair was split and I sort of felt sorry for him, besides I had Susie with me and she liked him knowing that me and our son will be doing all the work, He is a real nice little balck calf but I just can't get him to take the bottle. Tried a bucket and no interest. Been tubing him to get some groceries in. He has good alfalfa, some calf starter and water in his stall but haven't seen him eat and little has been missing.
Let him out with the cows this morning and he went right for the udders and got kicked at and pushed away. He is smaller than our calves and we have one left to calve out so he is in the middle for size.
Any advise on getting him to take the bottle I've run out of ideas..
May have to get a nurse cow.
Thanks, Dave Mc

Re: calf won't take bottle

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:26 pm
by randiliana
What kind of nipple have you been using? I find that the soft rubber ones that fit onto a pop bottle work the best. How hungry have you let him get? At 175 lbs, he can handle getting pretty hungry, and that will be the only way you're going to get him sucking. At least leave him overnight, if not longer. The one we just put onto our milk cow went 2 days without food before I could get him to suck a bottle, and then convince him to try the cow. It took me at least 1/2 hour to get him to suck the bottle, and I've had some that took a lot more than that.

Now, my technique for getting them onto a bottle, first off, back him into a corner, then straddle his neck/shoulders. This way he can't back away from you, and you have pretty good control over him. Now, pull his head up to your chest, for some calves I've had good luck when I pull their head right up tight against my chest. Now, stick the nipple in his mouth, and use one hand to wrap around his muzzle so you can squeeze his mouth on the nipple (kinda like forcing him to suck). Use the other hand to hold his head up and to massage his throat so that he swallows whatever milk you get into his mouth. You may have to squeeze the bottle to force some milk into his mouth, and use a nipple that has a larger hole so he doesn't really have to work hard for his dinner at least for now.

Sometimes it will take several of these sessions to finally get him sucking. The biggest key to winning though is to have a hungry calf. Try not to really fight with him, cause the more stressed he is the less likely he is to give in and suck. And, I know that is easier said than done, there is nothing quite so frustrating as trying to get a calf on the bottle, when you know the other option for him is really, starvation.

Re: calf won't take bottle

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:41 pm
by zman6133
the wife and I had the same issue and just waited 24 hours before trying to feed him anything. Then we got in the pen with him, backed into the corner and I used my legs as a head gate. I slipped my thumb in the side of his mouth and then slid the nipple in at the same time. It took a few tries but he soon figured out that there was milk coming out of it. We also let a few drops run off his nose so that he knew what to expect and what the taste was. We have had to do this a few times to calves that are split off their mothers at the sale barn. I do not like to tube them as that becomes the norm and it is harder on them. Every calf will get hungry and as long as he is not dehydrated, time is on your side. Now all this said, this take into account that he is not coughing, head down and shooting poop out of his other end. He may need a shot of DRAXXIN to get him back on his feet as you have to be careful what they may have picked up in the sale barn. Good Luck
:hat:

Re: calf won't take bottle

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:46 pm
by Workinonit Farm
Dave, when I have had a difficult bottle-baby, I have done almost exactly what Randi posted. It works for me. I have been able to "bottle-break" calves as old as 5 weeks or more. The most difficult one I ever had was a blind calf from work (long story). Once she and I had a few rodeo sessions that ended with her on the ground and me setting on top of her, she would finally take to the replacer. The funny part about that was it took a few days to then "break" her of drinking while lying down. She learned to associate getting fed with being on the ground :lol: . I then had to "teach" her to stand up for her milk. :lol:

Let him get good and hungry, then do as Randi posted. I too have found it better to make the hole in the nipple a bit bigger.

Katherine

Re: calf won't take bottle

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:13 pm
by Susie David
Thanks for the replies...put a lamb nipple on a pop bottle and got 12oz down him this afternoon looks like it is going to be a long process but this little one is the hardest that I've had to get on the bottle.
Dave Mc

Re: calf won't take bottle

Posted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:50 am
by randiliana
Workinonit Farm wrote:Dave, when I have had a difficult bottle-baby, I have done almost exactly what Randi posted. It works for me. I have been able to "bottle-break" calves as old as 5 weeks or more. The most difficult one I ever had was a blind calf from work (long story). Once she and I had a few rodeo sessions that ended with her on the ground and me setting on top of her, she would finally take to the replacer. The funny part about that was it took a few days to then "break" her of drinking while lying down. She learned to associate getting fed with being on the ground :lol: . I then had to "teach" her to stand up for her milk. :lol:

Let him get good and hungry, then do as Randi posted. I too have found it better to make the hole in the nipple a bit bigger.

Katherine


I had one like that one time, except she was a perfectly normal calf. Once she ended up on the ground she started sucking.

Good luck Dave.

Re: calf won't take bottle

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:52 pm
by MBarker73
I have a hereford leppy we got last week. He'd been on his own a few days in the mountains and momma never came to claim him. He's in a pen with water, salt block, alfalfa and calf manna. We estimate he's about 2 weeks old. Tried the bottle and no avail. Tried a pail, nothing. He's getting along ok , but has no interest in calf manna or drinking much water. Gave him some electrolytes by tube last night and he really protested that! This is my first leppy calf so I'm unsure how to proceed next. I have read everything about letting him get hungry - but if he's on good alfalfa and I can get him to eat the calf manna (only sprinkled a little alfalfa on top of the pellets today so he had to get a taste) - is it OK to NOT give the milk replacer??

Re: calf won't take bottle

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:18 pm
by Hereford2
Hi your calf will need milk a minimum of 6 weeks, otherwise it probably wont survive,.

Re: calf won't take bottle

Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:16 am
by Jeanne - Simme Valley
Randi's right on!!
MBarker - what is a leppy????