We have a new 3 day old calf from a first calf heifer. Today is the first day she brought the little guy up with the herd for us to see. He seems to still be pretty wobbly on his legs but does go to her when she gently calls for him. We are wondering if he is getting enough milk. He seems thin and we have not seen him nurse..although we only saw him for just a bit tonight before she moved him away. She did spend a good deal of time this evening licking him from one end to the other and did keep the older calves away from her new baby. Should we try to supplement her milk with a bottle or should we give her some more time? She does have milk in her bag but we can't tell if the calf has been nursing as the teats are dark in color. This calf doesn't seem as perky as some of the other calves we've had this fall..but think it could have something to do with the 1st time heifer. We're new at this cow business and aren't quite sure when to get involved and help. Suggesions from those who know would be helpful. Thanks!
Feel inside the calfs mouth. If it is warm, it is getting fed, if it is cool, your calf is starving and needs help NOW. If you have to feed it, make sure you feed colostrum first. If you don't have any, call a local dairy farmer, they usually freeze it so they always have some handy.
If he's on his feet, he's probably fine, just watch him for another day, if he stays down for a long time or mama starts bawling then intervene, otherwise try not to jump the gun, as you will end up with a bottle baby, or worse yet mowed down by an angry mom.
I know its hard to leave the babies alone, but sometimes people step in too early trying to "save" somebody who doesn't need saving.
Well..the calf is doing great! He was much stronger today. His mouth was warm...and at one point this afternoon we caught him with mama and he had milk on his face! Guess we were just a little anxious since he seemed smaller and weaker than our other 2 calves. This also could be because this heifer brought him to the herd after only 3 days. The older cows waited 5 or 6 days before introducing them to the other cows..of course by that time the little fellas were full of spitfire! I'm sure this little guy will catch up to the others really fast. Thanks to everyone for their help...I'll keep this information handy for the next time in case we need it.
A heifers first calf is generally smaller in size then what a cow with a few calves under her belt will throw, so I wouldn't worry about the size difference. Glad he's getting along alright and that his mom knows her job.