bottle feeders

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by arkie, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. arkie

    arkie New Member

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    Nov 6, 2004
    Never had cattle. Thinking about getting 6 to 10 bottle feeders at a time and keeping until they can eat on their own. Then buy another round. Is this worth doing?
     
  2. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    I know I am new here, so please excuse while I put my foot in my mouth.

    Raising calves is a pretty appealing venture for me because we used to have dairy cows and we raised our own bottle calves. I think there is a niche out there for calf-raisers, but, I also think it's risky business because the calves' health can be iffy and milk replacer and meds can get expensive.

    I would not buy any calves until I had a plan for how and when to sell. Our plan has always been to raise them to full market weight, vs. selling them as started calves.

    We just finished starting a group of sale barn cattle for our neighbor -- he had a family emergency and had to go out of state for several weeks -- and since they came from the sale barn at times I felt like I was running an ICU out there. We fed medicated milk replacer, vaccinated, gave Vitamin B and Selenium shots and as needed treated their scours and pneumonia with Linco/Spectin and Bayetril. We also slipped them some yogurt and switched them off of milk replacer to electrolyte solution as needed for scours. Of the group, all made it except for one that looks pretty bad right now. The group I had went through a bag of milk replacer a week (a little over $40 each ) and two bottles of Linco (about $44 each)

    As soon as I get all the calves moved, I am going to CLEAN!!! I would also like their pen to stand empty for awhile.

    If we are raising calves for our own, we buy them from neighbors we know. We get bigger, healthier calves. (DH said he was afraid, honestly, that our other neighbor was probably drunk at the auction when he bought this improbable group of calves ... all light or weak)

    I washed my own hands A LOT during all this. And as often as possible ran the bottles and nipples through the dishwasher. Early in our marriage, I was helping DH with feeding calves and seemed to catch "somethign" from a scouring calf. Whatever it was, it was wicked!

    I did a Google search on veal calves (we're not raising vealers, that's just what they are called at that age) and found good info on the web.

    Hope that helped!
    Ann
     

  3. Jim in MO

    Jim in MO Well-Known Member

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    Ann you may be new but you give good advice.....

    Bottle calves are very fragile and a whole lotta work as well. Be sure you know what you're getting into beofre you jump in over your head. I would start out with one or two at first to get some experience before buying 6-10 and never having owned any cattle before (just my opinion) but don't don't be afraid to try either. That's the great thing about this lifestyle. Jump in and go for it! but remember, there is a living animal depending on you as well.

    Jim in MO
     
  4. arkie

    arkie New Member

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    Thanks for the advice! Will research much more. Also, 2 sounds much better than 10 for the first go-round. Thanks again>
     
  5. herefordman

    herefordman Well-Known Member

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    Starting with ten bottle feeders would be a real handful for the caretaker and for the calves, better to start small until you get the hang of it.
    It can definitely be a fulltime job and done incorrectly will be a sad job if you lose a whack right off the start.
     
  6. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    The group I took on was six Holstein bulls, and one "New Zealand" type calf. Brown and black ... that's the generic name for them around here because we don't know any better.

    It was pretty time consuming, having that many. I would do it again -- but not for awhile!

    If I wanted to give it a whirl I would get two ... :) ... they are herd animals and need a buddy.

    Good luck!
    Ann
     
  7. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    Being a Kiwi I'm very curious as to what breed you call the 'New Zealand' cattle..
     
  8. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    Opps forgot :eek:


    If you're raising 8 to 10 calves why dont you use a calfateria instead of bottles?? Its much easier.
     
  9. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In my part of the world, the healthiest way to do this is to use the individual calf huts. Keep the kids seperated. Wash & move the huts between batches of calves. After a few weeks, you can put them together in a building, but the real little ones tend to pick up bugs from each other & they all die if in one pen.

    Here there are still dairies, and one can make some money hooking up with one dairy & raising their calves for them. You only get the bugs from one outfit, instead of from all over...

    It's a lot of work, lot of risk.

    --->Paul