hey all im new at raising calfs this is only my second calf the first was a 1day old heifer who was very sick with scours and i dont think she had had her colostrium she couldnt stand up we braught her back to life and then some dogs got ahold of her when she was a few weeks we were so devistated she was still alive and we tried everything getting her back to life but a week later she passed now we went to auction and got a calf not sure how old but much older then the other one hes a holstien bull calf who at first had scowers but today he stated pooping normal and we are so glad hes done with that we have him on some starter feed but he still eats from the bottle and has been wanting more then a gallon and a half in one sitting do you think its time to ween him completly and is there anything special i should get for that?
Babycalf welcome to the forum...Start a new thread for your question, you will get a lot more responses that way....I'm also not exactly sure what your question is? Start a new thread with your question and I'd be glad to help....Topside
also was wondering will a bull calf get agressive if i dont casterate him? I would love to keep him as a bull and get a heifer down the line to breed them but Im pregnant and dont need anything agressive
I tried raising bottle calves for 2 years with approximately 27 calves on sight. I learned a lot as time went on and reduced the death rate from 55% to 30% in the end. Generally, I didn't lose calves until they were over 3 weeks old. As of now, I have switched to the nurse cow operation and reduced the death rate to 2% overall. I think stress is the issue and the calves need a Mama present. As always, I will review, discuss & listen to all advice and comments.
I bought 4 bottle calves in early march. I brought them home in a snow storm. I put them up in the barn. I kept them in the barn until early April. When I turned them out to pasture after 5 weeks, I weened them from the bottle, and started them on a small supplement of sweet feed. They are all very strong and healthy, and look to turn out to be great little calves. With milk replacer, feed and meds I have less than $100 each in them. I'll probably let them go 31 to 32 months before butchering. I have plenty of grass and I want to maximize their potential before I harvest them. I'll probably get a few more next year. Between 4 and 6, is all I could probably deal with at one time. I think 6 would be an ideal number.
Glad to see this - lot of good information in here. I have not dealt with bottle baby calves in pretty close to 20 years. As I am getting ready to get into that venture again here really soon it was some really good reading to refresh and get a few tips on some of your standard practices that we were not doing way back when.
I'm new to being the one in charge on the cattle in the family and will be purchasing 2-3 bottle calves (jersey/angus cross and at least one a heifer) in a few weeks or a month. I'm purchasing from a private individual and will be making sure they've had some colostrum prior to coming home. I would like to get a kit together of things I need to have at hand if anything goes awry and just want to double check the items I've written down so far:
Calf tubing rig
Electrolytes (pedialyte work?)
injectable vitamins (don't have much on specifics with this one)
bottle and cleaning supplies
Wondering what I've missed and what I've gone overboard on before I make the trip to the co-op for purchase. I live at best 1/2 hour from town (4 in the morning drive time) but usually closer to 45 minutes (not counting construction, downed trees, wrecks, etc.) so need to have stuff readily available here.
I transitioned my calves to sweet feed as soon as possible. I think they were on MR for a total of 5.5 weeks. Don't forget to worm them a month or two after they go outside. Worms will keep them from gaining condition early. Mine have been very healthy. I only had a small bout of occicidosis, cured easily with antibiotics. I will definitely do this again next year. It will be hard to call these guys grass fed, but the last half of their lives will be straight grass. Unfortunately to get them off MR you need to give them high calorie feed. Sweet feed is much cheaper and easier to administer than MR. I plant deer plots for my cows to graze so they go into winter in very good condition. Its much cheaper than over feeding hay, and it makes the soil healthier. You aren't bringing in foreign weed seed and who knows what, and winter annuals will loosen the soil so it will hold more winter moisture.
Looking back over the last nine months, my first go at raising bottle calves has been a positive one. First off I bought my calves privately from a dairy. They were healthy from the start. I bottle fed them inside as I bought them in March during a snow storm and it stayed cold the first month. I have a barn at my disposal so I had that option. I did ween my calves after 5.5 weeks, still giving them a watered down bottle of MR for an additional week while transitioning to grass. I did start them on free choice sweet feed right away, though they did not choose to eat any for the first 2 weeks or so. I kept them on sweet feed and grass until they fully made the transition to grass and I had plenty of good quality grass.
The calves are in very good condition now going in to their first winter. They are about 300 pounds, might be bigger if I had bottle fed longer, but I would rather they take longer to grow on grass than invest more in expensive MR. I just want them to have milk for as long as it takes for them to be healthy.
I think a bigger part of why they aren't 500 pounds is that I did not worm them until July. I think they needed it much earlier than that now that I am looking back. So I recommend you worm your calves early and a gain late to get the best condition.
The only other mistake I think I really wiffed on, is I practice MIG. I did not start the calves into the MIG program until this fall. I think that made their transition a little more challenging, and it also hurt my grass recovery. I would have started them right away if I were starting today.
This has been a great experience, I may do it again in the future if I buy more land. These calves were the stop gap for me. I had some young heifers, and I needed more cows to manage the grass I have. The heifers are bred now and will calve in the spring. SO I wont need the extra cows next year. When I buy some adjacent property, I will probably buy more dairy calves to get a good stocking rate quickly and cheaply in order to build my herd more slowly with higher grade breeding stock, and still have enough calves to manage the grass.
I hope my experience helps someone considering doing the same to take the leap. Make sure though to start with healthy calves.
We are going to be getting our first cows in Jan. We only want 1 Dairy and 1 Beef. Right now that is all we have room for until we can build a bigger barn. I was wondering if anyone could suggest what kind of cows we should get. I have been told so many ..from so many different people. I want to hear from people who know. Also Do you bottle feed them for 4 or 6 weeks? After the bottle feeding..how much do they eat..how often and what all do you feed your cows? I have not had a cow since I was 7..and don't remember everything. Car accident and brain surgery...(didn't help). I have been reading online and books...but so many diff opinions.
Not only that, but I consider everything a disadvantage in comparison with the supreme value of knowing the Mashiach Yahshua as my Lord :baby04:
For your dairy cow you will want to be pretty selective. Jerseys and a few others have milk that is less likely to cause milk allergies for kids.
For the beef cow, you might consider a dairy breed. They take longer to mature to slaughter weight, but they will cost much less to purchase. I bought mine for $60 each last year. you will want to buy directly from the farm and get one a few days old that has had his colostrum. Also a free martin heifer would be a good choice. They wont need to be castrated and their beef is every bit as good as a steer.
I only bottle fed mine for 5 weeks, and I started them on sweet feed the first week. When they were eating sweet feed fine I took them off bottle. When they were eating grass well I greatly reduced their sweet feed.
Remember their poop will tell you a lot about their health. Their coat will too.
I have heard you can eliminate worming by having cows and chickens and sheep in the same pasture. i have cows and chickens, I may try sheep this spring but I have no first hand experience.
Also my suggestions are based solely on my personal experience and are not the only or possibly even the best way. But they worked well for me so far. Only been doing it for 2 years though.
Best of luck
I am using a new product SAV-A-CAF Scours & Pneumonia Treatment....it seems to work better then anything else I have used as it has milk in it also...still need to check temp on calf to see if they need anything else....but seems to make them firm up fast...
I have another new product I am using on calfs a respiratory vaccine for new born calfs....called Inforce 3....it is made for 3 to 9 day old calfs intranasal , BUT USED ON ALL SIZES AND AGES but the shot works better in other sizes ,,it works on BRSV IBR PI3..will see how this works this year
I like the Jerseys because they have a better sense of survival and hardier, just learn how to eat and routines faster than holistiens & angus. They'll go for the sweet feed within 2 wks and nipple on hay & grass wks before the others. I had a group of 5 started last October & they handled the winter with much less trouble & penicelin than the holisteins. Have a group of 9 that are a wk old going now and they took to the hanging bottles by the 2nd day and I turn them out during the day to mingle with the herd and when I walk up to the barn in the evening & whistel to them they run right in and ready for evening feeding, the angus would just stand there in the field till I walked over with a bottle and lead them in. . For slaughter holisteins seem to have a lot of loss of hanging weight, heavy boned, but people like them because they look big but you don't get the amount of meat from them for the size. I get the jerseys for $30 each at 2 days old. Have 2, 6 mth old holstein heifers that will bred next yr to 1 lucky boy that won't get banded.