bottle feeding calves

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by spinnDrSandy, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. spinnDrSandy

    spinnDrSandy Active Member

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    We just brought home 2 of the most beautiful Jersey calves today...Burford, the bull calf, and Betty, the heifer. The person we purchased the calves from was feeding them 1 quart of milk replacer in the morning and 1 quart of milk replacer at night per calf. I have been reading notes on Homesteading Today and it appears most folk double that amout to their bottle fed calves. Burford is 2 weeks old but very large. Betty is 3-4 weeks old. After I fed them tonight the still acted starved. Is 1/2 gal. of milk per calf per day enough? Do I need to double that? HELP!!!! I have no experience with calves.
     
  2. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Well, I haven't had to bottle feed my calves, but that doesn't sound like enough to me, either! :(

    I have seen day-old calves at work drink 2 quarts of milk at a pop.

    At that age, they'll probably start nibbling hay, and maybe even some calf starter (grain), if you put it in front of them.

    Also, they can be trained to drink out of a bucket by about 2 weeks old. Although they probably like the bottle better!
     

  3. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Most people are bottle feeding Holsteins, hence the larger amount. Yes, I would definitely keep them on only a quart morning and night, and very gradually work them up a bit.

    ALL calves act hungry all the time -- you will kill them off fast if you overfeed them, so it is always better to underfeed than over. Jerseys are more delicate too.

    I put out grain their first week, and it doesn't take them long to get going on it. I also keep a water bucket in front of them from the get go.

    Tracy
     
  4. herefordman

    herefordman Well-Known Member

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    We usually have them on a bucket by the time they're two or three weeks tops, but I've always given them two bottles in the morning and two at night, but check your bottles to make sure they are only one quart bottles, as there are two quart bottles too.
    Follow the replacer label instructions to the tee, do not give them more powder because you think they're still hungry, making the mix too rich will give them scours.
    If your concerned just give them more water, they just want to feel full, and the suckling for more is just instinct.
    Starter grain can be given this early no problem, just let it be free choice.
     
  5. bumpus

    bumpus Well-Known Member

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    This is the best advice and go slow in the increase of milk ! ! !
    They will not starve and you will have less problems.

    They will drink twice as much if you give it to them and they will die.
    Calve have no sense of over eating.

    You are their mommy now, go slow ! ! !
     
  6. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Just curious, are you going to casterate the bullcalf? Your cute sweet doe eyed little bullcalf will turn into an evil monster overnight. If you want to breed, go AI, bulls in general are a pain, and jerseys in particular are the worst.
     
  7. spinnDrSandy

    spinnDrSandy Active Member

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    Unfortunately I didn't read my Homesteading Today on cattle before I brought Burford home. My husband and I talked about it last night after we read all the negative comments about Jersey bulls. We would like to breed him once before we sell him but I am already trying to get the mind set to find another home for him if and when he gets an attitude.
     
  8. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My advise would be to casterate the bull (simple job) and raise him for beef. Jersey steers produce good meat, but not very marketable due to thier naturally yellow fat. You will have an extremly hard time finding someone to buy a jersey bull, allmost all dairy farmers use AI. An added advantage of having a steer around is that he will tell you when your heifer comes into heat.
     
  9. Ken in Minn

    Ken in Minn Well-Known Member

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    Hi All
    Just my opinion.
    I think you would be ok, if you just use the jersey bull on your heifer at about 18 to 20 months. Then casterate him, but on a little fat and head him for the freezer. Jersey bulls normally don't get uggly until about 2 to 3 yrs old. Then WATCH OUT. Don't ever trust him. I had one here until he was 2 1/2 yrs. old no problems, then I sold him to a Holstien Dariy for heifer breeding. After 3 he went bonkers and ended up in the freezer. The guy told me he tasted just as good as he was a breeder, setlled ever one of his heifers.

    Ken in Minn
     
  10. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Kens advise will work too, as long as you are ready tto do what you need to do when the bull "turns the corner" You may very well get 1 breeding out of him before he turns nasty, but then what?
     
  11. AnnB

    AnnB Member

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    Start training that bull now, if you want to be able to safely deal with him past 6 months of age or so.

    I raise Jersey bulls, they go on to be used as "gomers" (vasecomized bulls that are used for heat detection when AI'ing large groups of beef cows).
    I have found that if young Jersey bulls are trained from the start, they have a much lower chance of becoming mean. I start the bulls like young oxen -- they are haltertrained and trained to respond to certain voice commands (their name, Come, Get Up, Whoa, Back, and Move Over), as well as to respect the human's "personal space". They get a daily training session up to about 3 months of age, twice weekly after that.
    The guy who buys my bulls tells me that mine are the only bulls he's ever purchased that can be retained from year to year without becoming aggressive. The oldest are now 4-1/2 and still just as gentle and responsive as they were when sold at 8 months. These guys can be CALLED BY NAME out of a herd of cows and led away when their "work" is done.

    What you have to remember with ANY bull is that him tossing his head at a fly can kill you. His first show of aggression could easily be fatal to the closest human.
    NEVER turn your back on ANY bull and NEVER drop your guard for a moment -- no matter how well trained he is, he's still a bull.

    AnnB
     
  12. DaleK

    DaleK Well-Known Member

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    Ann, also NEVER play with a bull's head, even scratching it as a newborn. That will condition them to get used to you playing with their head, then one day when they're full grown they get the idea you want to play with their head again and grind you into dust.
     
  13. AnnB

    AnnB Member

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    I sure should have mentioned that, as it is Rule #1.
    I confine pets and scratches to under the chin and along the side of the neck.



    This is my herd bull, Pvt. Pyle.
    He's a Registered Miniature Jersey, just over half the size of the standard Jersey bulls. In this picture he is just over a year old, stands 38" at the hip and weighs just over 400 lbs.
    Oh, and the cute little jockey is my 3 year old grandson, Zachary.

    [​IMG]

    Ann B
     
  14. lt659

    lt659 New Member

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    We raise bottle babies all the time. We have Jersey's and one Guernsey cross. Our newborns, after getting colostrum, get 1 quart at each feeding, and are fed twice a day. Jersey's are infamous for dying in the first few weeks so a few words of caution. Carefully watch the amount of milk you give--more are killed by overfeeding milk than underfeeding. They get scours easily. If that happens, cut back the milk and give liquid electrolytes promptly. 'BOUNCEBACK" is a name brand available at Tractor Supply.

    By the time they are 3 weeks old, you can usually move them to 3-4 pints per feeding, still feeding twice a day. Make sure they have clean water available at all times. Buy one 50 lb. bag of calf starter (make sure it is fresh--some feed stores keep it too long). Keep fresh calf starter in front of them, free choice. Occasionally put a few pellets in their mouths to get them started. A bit of fresh hay ought to be available as well. We recommend bottle feeding for at least 90 days. Some brands of milk replacer say you can wean at 30 days but we found they are healthier when we keep them on milk a while longer. We try to use non-medicated milk replacer and save antibiotics for when they are truly ill with bacterial infections. Check with your vet for a vaccination schedule. If you plan to milk the cow, make sure it is tested/vaccinated for brucellosis (no longer heard of in our part of central Texas buy why take the chance?). If you need help, send an email to myself or Mary Ann (my wife).