A question about weaning a calf on powdered milk

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by emke, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. emke

    emke Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    I got a call today from the man whose cows my DH feeds. He has been in town for a week and finally went down to check out his cows. 3 weeks ago a calf was born that we could not match up with a mother. It always came up with the other cows, but was never by one certain cow, making us believe it was her mother. This man thought the calf was abandoned by its mother because he thought it looked weak and small. I told him how I had seen that calf sucking on two different cows. He asked if we wanted it, since we would have to bottle feed it. Stupid question. I jumped at the offer of a free calf.

    So DH went to town to buy powder milk replacement before we went to work the cows tonight. We weren't able to catch the cow right then, but went back after dark and was able to shine a light into her eyes and DH grabbed it. So now we have this little calf in with our big calf. We tried feeding it some milk out of the bucket with the nipple attached. It didn't want anything to do with it. As fast as this little girl ran, she didn't look weak to us. She had obviously been eating well.

    What I really need to know is how long will we have to feed this calf the milk replacement? The directions said that you could start weaning at 28 days. We both thought that was too young. What do you think?
  2. evermoor

    evermoor Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    I would recommend weaning it at 8 weeks or when it is eating around 5# of calf starter. You can feed it as long as you want but replacer is expensive. However it might be a bit of a chore to get the little calf to drink off a nipple since it is use to the real deal. It may wean itself off, so make sure you have some starter and good hay for her, and water. Good luck

  3. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2004
    New Zealand
    If your calf is already 3 weeks old, according to the instructions on the calf replacer bag, you should be about ready to start weaning in a week :haha: Mmm. In all honesty, if it had survived that long feeding from whatever cow would let it, I would have been inclined to have left it where it was. I'm warning you now, your likely to have a few problems with it.

    Because of it's age, it's not starving and is used to the real thing, it won't want to know a rubber teat or bucket and will possibly wean itself rather than drink. If this happens make sure you have starter feed, good grass and hay on hand for it - or put it back with the cows.
    If you do get it to drink, you will probably find it will scour as it's stomach will rebel against the new milk.

    I feed my calves for 8 weeks before weaning them and at the same time offer them starter feed and hay. They are on grass at all times. You can start weaning at a month but then you have to start pumping other feed into them and it tends to become a catch 22 as to which becomes the more expensive and which is the better for them.

    Good luck with it.