3 day old calf - need help

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by btaylor, Feb 23, 2005.

  1. btaylor

    btaylor New Member

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    I got a 3 day old calf as of today, its a part angus bull (its got a white face )eventually be a steer, his mother died after giving birth and i have to bottle feed him and hes not wanting to take the bottle. Hes already had colstrum. I have a tube feeder but dont want to use it because he wont learn to suckle like that. What do i need to do to keep this little guy alive and healthy? im new at this
     
  2. allenslabs

    allenslabs Saanen & Boer Breeder

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    Here's what I've done on the 2 I've done ( I know REAL pro here but it's worked) I've got them on their feet and got them in a headlock between my legs. Then stick the bottle in their mouth and put your other hand around his mouth and open and close your hand to simulate what his mouth should be doing. Might try to massage his throat if he doesn't wanna swallow. You might end up with a handefull of milk but he'll eventually he'll get the gist.
    Try to keep him warm and dry. Watch for signs of rattly breathing or any snots of color or scours(runs in human terms). If you overfeed that can lead to scours. I usually feed 2 bottles a day which equals a gallon. If you need any more info just holler. With this last one here I've gotten a lot of help! HAHA! So now I"m just full of ideas!! Mine though is a hard fella..... I've been fighting for his life for 3 stinkin weeks! He's still fighting though so so am I!
    Good luck with your boy. By the way I wouldn't steer him till he's had a chance to get good and on his feet as that can be real hard on one that's already down.
     

  3. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Make sure the hole in the nipple is big enough. To get him started, the hole should be big enough for a stream to run out when the bottle is held upside down.

    Put it in his mouth so that the milk runs in. He should start swallowing. Don't drown him, but don't expect him to suck at first, either. He'll get it eventually.

    Adding a can of goat milk to a gallon of replacer seems to give it a better smell or something, so the calf will want to drink it. It's easier to digest, too.

    After he learns to suck the bottle, you can switch him to a nursing bucket and a smaller hole in the nipple.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm
     
  4. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    allen said it best just one thingmake sure the milk is like 104 degrees so the hot water will release the fat in the milk replacer if thats what you are feeding ...like allen said warm and dry 1 gallon a day ......on the weak ones i feed three times a day but still only give 1 gallon a day you can also reach your finger in the side of mouth and work the nipple... for him till he gets the hang of it.........my golden rule a hungry calf is a healthy calf.. those are the ones that meet you at the door...but to much milk will hurt them real easy................i also have two nipples one that is cut just a little bigger so it is easier to suck...and i do mean a little bigger then when they get good at sucking i go to the small nipple the salava helps with there stomack juices
     
  5. allenslabs

    allenslabs Saanen & Boer Breeder

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    Yeah I forgot the nipple thing. We had an old bottle here but the hole was just too big. So I went and bought a new one and made it a little bigger and it seems to be perfect. If it's enormous it can let out too much and maybe give pneumonia as some could get to the lungs. Like genebo said it should trickle out.
     
  6. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I like using the sheep & lamb nipples on young calves, I find the traditional calf nipples hard and too long for the little guys. The lamb nipples fit on a large pop bottle making it much easier to hold, for us small handed people, than those giant square bottles and they tuck under your arm nicely if you happen to need both hands. I also find that if you stand over the little guys and kinda pinch them between your knees that you have a little more control over the situation.
     
  7. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Squirt some milk on your hand, insert it in his mouth, and see if you can get him started sucking on your finger. When the "suck reflex" takes over and he's going good, start squirting milk in through the side, and gradually work the nipple into replace your hand.

    I don't know why some calves have problems latching on! It's about enough to drive ya nuts, isn't it?! :rolleyes: :p
     
  8. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    I've found that a bit of honey or molassas in the milk for taste can encourage a fussy drinker.
     
  9. jerzeygurl

    jerzeygurl woolgathering

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    great advice all over here i would add , we have always had good luck,but we did baby sit for some people that way over fed their bottle babies and they were real sick (2gals a day :eek: ) any way when the one was close to death the vet recomended an egg (raw)or corn syrup for energy. the egg minus shell will go down with out swallowing,but the poor thing was just too sick for 2 long. but like i said always had good luck other wise and all the other posters are right on with thier advice
     
  10. evermoor

    evermoor Well-Known Member

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    Is the calf healthy and doing OK other than sucking? If this is the case let the little bugger skip a feeding till he gets hungry. Brown Swiss are notorius for not sucking a bottle if they get a taste of the "real deal". I had a couple go almost three feedings before they went for the bottle. Do not try this though if the calf is weak and sick, just use the stomach feeder. Check the nipple size, temperature of the milk, heck imiate mommas moo and good luck.
     
  11. Debbie at Bount

    Debbie at Bount Well-Known Member

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    I agree with evermoor. I raise beef cattle and when one has suck on mama first it takes longer, but, the good news is that it got it colustrum!!. I sit and go crazy with them but they catch on soon and then they go nuts everytime they see you. Your mama now! What I would want to make sure is that the calf is healthy. If it isn't and then it doesn't have the sucking reflex you have no choice but to tube. Like you I hate that. I am always scared of getting it down the wrong hole and killing the poor calf. The milk has to be warm. I take temps for the young calves.







     
  12. herefordman

    herefordman Well-Known Member

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    allenslabs hit it right on, that exactly the same thing I do, and they take it, ya just gotta be rough with em' once in a while !!!
    Its for their own good !!
     
  13. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The real stubborn ones that will only suck your fingers, get me straddling them and having their head shoved in a bucket...as they suck your fingers they also suck up milk. Real messy, but some of them are too stubborn for their own good. If its been 3 days he should be pretty hungry by now...how did he have colostrum? from a bottle? Be careful he hasnt got to the give-up stage.
     
  14. Eunice

    Eunice Well-Known Member

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    There is a lot of good advice in this thread. I have had lots of experience while feeding calves at a dairy. The hardest to get started are the Brown Swiss and Brahma corosses. I have had them lay on their backs and kick at me. I was given a Guernsey/ Swiss heifer that was 8 days old and they still had to tube feed her. I finally got her on the bottle when she tried to nurse on another calf in our back yard, and I stuck the rubber nipple bottle under the other calf and she thought it was ok then. With the Brahma/Holstein crosses I rolled the nipple in sugar. It got their saliva running.