bottle feeding calf that came off cow

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Stephanie SE IA, May 16, 2005.

  1. Stephanie SE IA

    Stephanie SE IA Member

    May 10, 2002
    Alright, folks maybe I'm just panicing---my DH says I am BUT.....
    We went to the sale barn Sat to obtain bottle calfs for the kids to show at fair and was lucky enough to come home with one(needed two).
    There was a bad storm the night before the sale and the mother had gotten hurt--her back hoof got split. They were to be sold as calf/cow pair but they decided in the ring that they were going to split them up--I was lucky and my husband understood what was going on and yelled at me--they're auctioning that calf!
    Well, I won at a very good price as far as I'm concerned because once we went to load it, we found out it was a heifer---hee, hee, YEAH!
    HOWEVER, we haven't had cattle for around 5 years, so I'm a little memory bound and don't remember having so much trouble to get a calf to eat---of course, I've also never had one come off the cow like this little girl.
    As I said we bought her Sat, tried to feed her when we got home late.
    She wouldn't have anything to do with it and hasn't really yet. She'll chew on the nipple but that's about it. I've tried the nipple inside her mouth and then squeeze some milk in to give her idea too. I poured some in a feed pan thinking ok, ran loose with mom maybe she will drink from here instead--she did lick up some but maybe only 1 oz. I've seen her drink water and try to munch grass and we put out Manna for her too but it doesn't look to have been touched.
    I'm thinking she's not real new (maybe 2-3 wks) as the umbilical cord is healed, she weighed 75 pounds and is very stout.
    She is still wetting and 'pooping' so what might be going on?
    Any ideas on what else I can do to get this baby to eat as I REALLY don't want to lose this calf --she's a real chance to get started again.
    Thanks for all your help!
  2. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

    Oct 28, 2004
    SE Ohio
    People may have a coniption fit with my suggestion...but take away her water.

    Our calves do not have free access to water until they are around 4 month old (though our two newest do because of space).
    They get all their liquids from us twice a day. From a bottle for the first week and then from a bucket from then until they head outside to the transition pen.
    When she gets thristy enough she should take the bottle. You are *not* fighting the 12 hour mark for colostrum so she can go a little bit without liquids until she takes it.

    When I am working with a particularly stubborn calf I make them go through the sucking motion with the nipple in their mouth. I squeeze their mouths shut adn then relax it so that they associate that action with nice warm milk in their gut.
    Keep with it.

  3. RedneckWoman

    RedneckWoman Well-Known Member

    Jun 10, 2004
    When calves have been on momma they can be stubborn until they figure out what a bottle is all about. In my experience it takes about two days or three days for them to really take to a bottle (depending on age and how hungry they decide they are). In the past two months I have taken on six bottle calves and had two that I didn't have to fight with to get them to take a bottle.

    Anyway, I do pretty much the same thing as dostthouhavemilk. Stick the nipple in it's mouth and sqeeze and release their mouths. If you get one that likes to run from you (the kind I normally get) corner it or hold it against the wall with your hip lol. Something else I have done to hold a calf still and get it to eat is get down to their level beside them, put your arm around their neck (head lock style but just to hold her still not cut off air or anything lol) and stick the nipple in their mouth, maybe squeeze the bottle some to give them the idea, and work with them a few minutes until they drink some. Keep working with her, she'll catch on.