Bottle babies ??

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by needstoknowmore, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. needstoknowmore

    needstoknowmore Rattlin Rock Ranch

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    I am back on a search for a buddy for Ellie Moo. (I will get pics no later than Thurs). But I have been told and read that you can not keep bottle babies together. So at what age could I put them together. Ellie Moo is doing well. She has the will to get through this so we still have hope that she will make it. :)
     
  2. Marjorie Dickso

    Marjorie Dickso Well-Known Member

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    I keep my bottle calves together. Never heard not to. I now have 3 and they are very hard on toes and very pushy. Got them from a sale barn, this is day 4 and still no illness. I'm quite pleased!

    I have 2 babys born to 1 day apart. They are on their mom's...when not suckling they are off romping together. Good Luck to you!
     

  3. wilderness1989

    wilderness1989 Well-Known Member

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    I've raised 100's of bottle calves and always put them in pens according to their size, never had a bit of trouble. :cowboy:
     
  4. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    Glad to hear Ellie Moo is doing well. She was prayed for today,as usual. I'm sure you will find the perfect buddy for her!!
     
  5. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    My understanding is that it is common in the USA to keep hand reared calves on their own until at least 2 weeks of age. I personally think this is cruel and a hardship for the calves, they are herd animals and need the company of their own kind. When we bring them into the barns they get bottle colostrum for their first feed, after which they are trained on the calfateria. The number of calves per barn depends on the size of the barn. Budget 1 1/2 (min) preferably 2 sq mtrs per calf of covered space.
     
  6. happyladybug

    happyladybug Well-Known Member

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    we keep ours together - but you have to watch - because sometimes there's one that wants to keep suckling and will suck on another calf's ears.
    which is worse in cold weather -
    sometimes it's easier to feed them if they each have their own pen - and you are feeding by individual bottle..especially if you do the chores on your own...
    .
    those are the reasons i have heard not to put them together..
     
  7. needstoknowmore

    needstoknowmore Rattlin Rock Ranch

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    It was because of sucking that I was told not to put them together.
    How close to her age should I try to find another calf?
    This is my first time raising a calf and I don't know how fast they grow.
    I can just imagine trying to feed more than one at a time. She is already stepping on my toes and getting big enough that it hurts. And the bumping at the bottle. I learned fast not to hold the bottle infront of my stomach.
     
  8. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Try to find a pail with a nipple that can be hung on a rail to save your stomach. I don't know if they even make them anymore, but that's what my grandfather did. I've got some of the old pails, but the nipples aren't in any shape to be used at this point. I'm sure they make holders for the bottles as well (can't be just the calf domes that have that special spot built it.)

    Guess I'd get something the same age/size as Ellie Moo so that neither would get hurt.
     
  9. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    There is also a rack that holds the bottle that you can hang on the fence. Go to www.jefferslivestock.com, scroll down the categories and click on nursing supplies.
     
  10. needstoknowmore

    needstoknowmore Rattlin Rock Ranch

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    Thanks. I will check into them, if I can find another calf. Ellie Moo can find the nipple if it is close. But I don't know if she could find it if I put it on the fence. I haven't had any more luck finding her a buddy. If anybody has bottle calves around here they don't seem to be willing to part with them. But I will keep looking. She is now 27 days old, if I was to find one that was younger would that work for a buddy for her. Her legs are doing very well and she can get around good. I have thought about using my goat wether as a companion. He is a lover and doesn't have horns. But he is a goat and hates rain. I am afraid that he would run for shelter and leave her behind if it starts raining. This is supposed to be a dry climate, but not this year.
     
  11. nobrabbit

    nobrabbit Transplanted Tarheel

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    Here is a pic of Butterscotch and Caramel from last year...

    [​IMG]

    The only time we will not put two together is if one is sick. After it gets better, it can go in with the other calf. I personally think that calves do better with company. We have 2 together now, a week and a half old bull calf and a 3 day old heifer. I like feeding them through the fencing, they do not seem to butt as bad. I can feed both calves by myself when feeding through the fence.
     
  12. lgslgs

    lgslgs Well-Known Member

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    We got a bottle calf last year to raise as a lady ox. She has a herd of 8 goats for company, and one of them (Clyde) has apparently decided he is her special friend. Another (Sandy) has taken the lead in motherly rules teaching and discipline.

    Connie (the cow) sleeps with the goats and they have trained her to be very careful with her hooves and tail. The usually roam the land together for the most part, but Connie also likes to spend some time grazing off by herself. After a bit of that, she will go search them out - tracking their trail with her nose to the ground until she finds them somewhere in 15 acres of woods.

    The goats do ditch her if rain comes in and they run back to their house. That confused Connie when she was very young because she couldn't figure out why rain was a big deal and didn't know the terrain well enough to figure they'd take the quickest way back to their shed. The goats didn't wait for her, but Clyde stood with his head peeking out the door calling for her until she rejoined them.

    If you start with a wether friend and limited roaming area when she is young, she should be able to learn about goats/rain without any distress - even if she is blind. If I was raising a blind calf I'd keep the area kind of small so she could hear and scent her buddy until she was confident in finding them when they vanished. And with a young wether you'd be doing much the same with him for the first 4 - 6 months anyway, getting him used to being petted and combed and following after you.

    Once you are sure that they both have a strong desire to follow you and each other, I'd start taking them for walks to learn you land. With that kind of training, I'd think even a blind moo-girl would be comfortable navigating terrain like ours (15 hilly wooded acres with trails, fenced). Connie is is very reliant on her nose because most of the year the brush, trees and hills make spotting her goat friends by sight impossible. If she were to lose her sight today, I honestly think it would only take a month or two to get her back up to speed traveling our land.

    And if the wether only has her for a buddy, he won't ditch her for anything but pouring rain.

    I'd also think that Ellie would do fine with single ox training or with cow riding. We started cow riding work with Connie when she was a week old - just standing in cow riding position and walking along if she walked - and waiting for her to grow big enough for our feet to come off the ground. She also does pulling work with a collar made from and old bedsheet and Walmart sled. At 6 months old she could pull a good sized tree stump over snow. Can't see why a blind girl like Ellie would have any problem with this sort of stuff once she gets her bearings on your land. Learning to follow directions and work with your human doesn't require vision.

    Another thing, most of our halter training with her was done by tying her halter rope to one of our young wethers. Buddy enjoyed leading her around and knew more than we did about how to communicate what was expected.

    You're going to really enjoy having a pet cow, and even without sight she can be a tremendous contribution to your homestead. I'm so happy when a cow gets to go to that sort of home. Connie is actually a Freemartin (sterile female born twin to a male calf) and if we hadn't bought her to come here and be a pet with a job, she'd probably be a Connie-burger. :(

    keep the Ellie-moo pics coming!

    Lynda
     
  13. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We prefer to raise calves (especially heifer calves) in separate pens until after they are weaned off of milk. They are penned right next to each other and can touch each other and interact with no problems but they cannot suck one another's udders, umbilical areas, or ears. The concern with penning hand reared heifer calves together is that they will suck each other after their bottle or bucket because they have a very strong suckling reflex which generally is not completely fulfilled during their feeding (though the calfeterias found in NZ seem to curb this pretty well with their design). If a heifer has her undeveloped udder sucked it runs the risk of causing quarter blindness, especially if calves are fed junk milk (usually mastitic). The teat ends still have openings that can invite bacteria in if stimulated by suckling. We have calves that have pieces of their ears missing from penmates sucking their ears in the wintertime. With separate pens the suckee has a way to escape. Acalf that wants to suckle is relentless. We have a heifer calf in the goat pen currently and she is extremely aggressive with me.
    When our calves are moved outside around 2-3 months, and are fully weaned we will put them together. We still run into issues with them sucking each others ears (because they never were able to form the habit of sucking legs and udders due to the separation). After that they are raised in groups because that does help them to grow much better. Competition increases feed intake.
    Here is a picture of our pen system. Yes, there are two heifer calves together in one pen. Who knew we would have 6 heifer calves and one bull calf born so far in 2006? (Two heifers were born dead but it still is more than we were expecting and we have some barn issues). The oldest one there is close to weaning age and will likely be moved outside before long giving us more space to separate the two. They both suck each other after feeding and it is a big concern;
    [​IMG]
    Edited to add; I just realized that picture has all four of our heifer calves born so far this year. The baby laying in with the larger heifer (you can only see her rump) was moved from that pen up to the goat pen after those pictures. She was born during a snow storm and put in with Alpine to warm her up. Alpine (the oldest) has her own pen now. The idea is to show you that yes, they are separated but they can still interact and it just healthier, in our experience, overall. We've done some communal raising and it just doesn't work well.

    Edited a second time to say; Heh, that is the bull calf in the closer pen laying down. The fourth heifer calf had not been born yet. The small heifer in the far pen went to the goat pen and then was moved in with Sigil (the colorful heifer) and the bull was put up above in the goat pen because he was getting junk milk and Sigil was not.
    Now Sigil and the little heifer in that picture are sharing one pen.
    The fourth live heifer wasn't born yet...geesh..
     
  14. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Place a small bell around the neck of the goat that you want to use as a companion. The calf will rapidly learn to associate the sound to the goat and will find the goat should they get separated.
     
  15. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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