||01/09/13 10:12 PM
Originally Posted by kickinbull
We have a small dairy of mixed breed cows. Every new bull is usually a different breed. We also do some AI. In the last few years we have used BS in the rotation twice plus some in AI. There is one thing about them, ask someone who raises them, if they ever, ever suck the momma, they will die before you can get them to take a bottle. Weird, but it has been true for us.
I love brown swiss cows. However, a few years back I got some BS bull calves and had about the same luck you had raising them. I didn't lose any of them but had a harder time than I'd ever had getting a calf to take a bottle. I tried bottle, bucket, and finally had to tube them for a few feedings and see them get near death before training them to suck the bottle.
What ended up working for me with all of them was taking a severely worn out nipple and making a hole big enough in it to basically pour down the calf. After a few days they started to work their mouth a bit and slowly make a sucking action as it poured down. I'd guess they were a month old before I could have a normal routine of dropping a bottle in a feeder and letting them eat.
I've raised hundreds of bottle calves over the years and still like the BS breed. They were just my hardest ever to raise.
There may be something to what you say about letting them suck mama. This particular dairyman let the calves run with mama until they were three days old. He didn't pull the calves until mama's milk was getting put in the bulk tank and not going in the fresh cow bucket. Up until that time, they were kept in the maternity ward and milked out 2X a day with a portable bucket milker setup. Not sure why he done it, but it worked for him. He kept all his heifers and didn't seem to have any trouble keeping them alive.