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Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:18 pm
by MarieB
We had our first bottle calf this year. He has been very spoiled sleeping in a garage at night and in a garden in the day.
He has been around kids and a dog. But not around a herd ever. We just now brought him to our place. So he is now outside and next to a couple of steers that we are feeding out. But does anyone have a suggestions on how to introduce him to the herd out at the ranch? Will he even stay with them and figure out how to eat grass?

Re: Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:46 am
by Ky hills
We had a bottle calf this year, that was kept around the barn, he had some grass in the lot and so he learned that fairly early. He was able to see other cattle when they came up around the barn, but he actually did bond with the dog, they became big buddies. When we turned him out, it was with a group of weaning calves about his age, it took him a while to bond with them. He stayed to himself for a while, then eventually started moving with the group. He still would visit with the dog after coming in to eat.

Not knowing what the situation is, I would just recommend to supplement the bottle calf with some feed just in case he is to be turned out with cows or larger animals, he may still need some special attention to make sure he is getting adequate nutrition.

Re: Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:54 pm
by Txpiney
How old is "he", I assume it's a steer? Has he been on feed awhile? How much does he weigh? :welcome: to the boards.

Re: Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:27 pm
by ALACOWMAN
Best to keep a eye on him..I've seen em die shortly after being kicked out With the herd.... But the grazing part comes natural..but don't know how he'll fare at a hay bale,,being knocked around or stepped on

Re: Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:24 pm
by dun
Once a bottle calf is conditioned to coming to the bottle when it's called we always turn them out with the herd. That way they learn they are cows but still get the milk they need unless/until one of the cows adopts them. If one days and she doesn;t have a lot of milk keep feeding it the bottle at least once a day

Re: Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:21 am
by MarieB
Txpiney wrote:How old is "he", I assume it's a steer? Has he been on feed awhile? How much does he weigh? :welcome: to the boards.

He is a steer. Weighs about 350-400. Been fed grain and hay for awhile now. Almost down to one bottle at night. He's 3.5 months old.
Just not sure what to do with him now. Afraid he won't do well once we take him to the ranch

Re: Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:25 am
by MarieB
Ky hills wrote:We had a bottle calf this year, that was kept around the barn, he had some grass in the lot and so he learned that fairly early. He was able to see other cattle when they came up around the barn, but he actually did bond with the dog, they became big buddies. When we turned him out, it was with a group of weaning calves about his age, it took him a while to bond with them. He stayed to himself for a while, then eventually started moving with the group. He still would visit with the dog after coming in to eat.

Not knowing what the situation is, I would just recommend to supplement the bottle calf with some feed just in case he is to be turned out with cows or larger animals, he may still need some special attention to make sure he is getting adequate nutrition.

The problem is the ranch that are cows are at is not where we can keep an eye on him very easy. It's in the mountains. We are feeding twice a week right now. But our cows cover a lot of ground and he's never been around them before.

Re: Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:29 am
by MarieB
ALACOWMAN wrote:Best to keep a eye on him..I've seen em die shortly after being kicked out With the herd.... But the grazing part comes natural..but don't know how he'll fare at a hay bale,,being knocked around or stepped on

That's what I'm afraid of. Not so much getting to the food. We spread that out all over. But more will he even stay with the herd?

Re: Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:01 am
by MarieB
dun wrote:Once a bottle calf is conditioned to coming to the bottle when it's called we always turn them out with the herd. That way they learn they are cows but still get the milk they need unless/until one of the cows adopts them. If one days and she doesn;t have a lot of milk keep feeding it the bottle at least once a day

What would you do if you couldn't just send them out with the herd?
I guess we could have taken him out to our herd and went there a couple of times a day to feed him. But that would have taken hours with how our field is. I'm trying to figure it out for the future also in case it happens again. I know our setup is different than most.
We lease a ranch that is in the mountains. So we don't always see all our cattle each time we go out

Re: Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:01 am
by dun
MarieB wrote:
dun wrote:Once a bottle calf is conditioned to coming to the bottle when it's called we always turn them out with the herd. That way they learn they are cows but still get the milk they need unless/until one of the cows adopts them. If one days and she doesn;t have a lot of milk keep feeding it the bottle at least once a day

What would you do if you couldn't just send them out with the herd?
I guess we could have taken him out to our herd and went there a couple of times a day to feed him. But that would have taken hours with how our field is. I'm trying to figure it out for the future also in case it happens again. I know our setup is different than most.
We lease a ranch that is in the mountains. So we don't always see all our cattle each time we go out

I would keep bottle feeding and gradually wean him then keep feeding him grain till he was big enough the butcher

Re: Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:06 am
by Craig Miller
What dun said might be best. If you can't do that then can you bring another cow or calf to him for a while? I've had them not join the herd at all

Re: Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:14 am
by Jeanne - Simme Valley
Why not just ship him now? while he is healthy.

Re: Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:34 am
by Ky hills
Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:Why not just ship him now? while he is healthy.


Under the circumstances mentioned, I second that idea as a good option, because the calf may or may not join the others and even if he does he is likely not going to maintain without some daily extra support.

Re: Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:35 am
by Jeanne - Simme Valley
A young calf will not grow on hay/survive. They need the protein.

Re: Bottle calf to out with the herd

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:43 pm
by farmerjan
Have to agree with Jeanne and Ky Hills. The best option for the calf would be to sell him now when he is in good shape and before he has to try to learn to cope and probably go backwards. He won't grow good going from grain and hay to foraging for his own fee; and not being socialized with the herd and you not being able to feed or check up on him daily.