bottle vs. bucket?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Heritage, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. Heritage

    Heritage Well-Known Member

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    After feeding my goofy tongued calf from a bucket, it seems a whole lot easier than a bottle. Less washing, etc. Is there any reason why I shouldn't take all 5 of my calves off the bottle and feed with a bucket? Does the suckling perform some function I am not aware of? Any comments or help? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    All the dairies that I know of all teach the calves to drink from a bucket for all the reasons you mentioned, and they're usually feeding several at the time. The bucket just goes a lot faster. If the bucket works for you, go for it.
     

  3. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    So I'll come in and say the opposite. The only reason bucket feeding is used is because it's quicker and easier for us - but it doesn't mean that it's better for the calf.

    Apart from birds, I can't think of an animal that doesn't suckle - kittens, puppies, piglets, lambs, calves, human babies, rats, mice and even whales. The reason being that the act of sucking stimulates the digestive system. I did once read on what this all meant but have since forgotten (I have a memory like a sieve) but I do know that calves reared on a cow, bottle or calfateria seem to thrive better than those on a bucket. I havn't bucket reared a calf for over 20 years and I think my calves are the better for it. And for the extra few minutes it takes to clean out a bottle.............

    Heritage, if your Goofy seems to find it easier to drink from a bucket, leave him to do it but personally, I would leave the other four on the bottle. Are you physically holding these bottles for each calf? If so, that is time consuming so get FIL to make you up a holder that the bottles will fit into and can be hung on the fence. If you rear calves again (and FIL will allow it ;) ) consider investing in a calfateria. Easy to use, easy to clean. I'm rearing four calves at the moment and it would take less than 5 minutes to rinse out and then wash the calfateria with hot detergent water.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  4. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    My calves, just two at this time, drink from their water bucket but attack their bottle with a vengence. I don't know about the health aspects Ronnie mentioned, nor do I have the 30 years experience, but I do know that a calf will bond to the bottle and the person who holds it in ways they never would to a bucket.

    I've training up my boys to work in the yoke and I need them to see me as the "lead cow" and "herd boss". They get their start in that direction by feeding way by of a bottle.

    My 9 months old Jersey heifer leads well on a halter, or without, and she understands voice commands. This started because of her imprinting on me as her food provider and keeper of the bottle.

    My 2 bull calves will lead in tandem and obey voice commands during their training, and again, the bottle keeps us connected. Even after a difficult training period and after they become frightened of me, the bottle smooths everything over again.
     
  5. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Drinking from a bottle for at least a week or two is important in forming the esphogeal groove. Edited to say: I was reading the Progressive Farmer and in the section "Ask the vet" they talked about nursing helping the calf to close a groove in the stomach and "shifts the milk from the rumen to the true stomach.". Used to be calves were trained directly to bucket after birth here. Now we keep them on a bottle for a week or two and then switch them over to a bucket. Works for us quite well and our calves grow up and do quite well.

    Calfeterias are not easily accessible in this country. There is a aparently one company in Texas that sells thema dn tehn that would mean raising calves in groups, rather than spereate pens like some farms do. They do make nipple buckets which are the same type of concept, but are probably a bear to clean (I know the set-up I made for our goat kids was a bear to clean).


    We switch to bucket because it holds more liquids and since they do not have constant access to water when in the barn they need to have more water with their milk as they age.
    It has worked well for us and our calves are not wanting.
     
  6. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    Just a little two cents here, I am bottle feeding two calves (I only used a bottle on one other). The male was more impatient with the bottle and would butt it a lot. So I switched him to the bucket. I wanted more direct contact with the heifer since she will be a milk cow so I left her on the bottle. The male started developing white scours about a week after I started him on the bucket. The heifer is the same age and about the same size and she is fine. I pulled the milk today and fed him gatorade in a bottle.
     
  7. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Quailkeeper, that's what I used to find and it doesn't happen anything near as much when they are able to suckle.

    I know I keep harping on about calferterias but they really are very good if you can source them - it seems that there could be an opening here from some entreprenerial (sp?) person in the plastics field. They come in all sizes from single feeders right through to great big things on a trailer so it's possible to keep your calves in the same type of grouping as you would with bottles or buckets. I've just weaned one of my calves but of the remaining three, one is fed on her own on a single calfateria, the other two are sharing a triple calfateria with one section blocked off. They each have decided which teat they will feed from. These calves still identify me with food and come running when I appear and the hands on relationship is still there - all of these calves can be handled and love a good scratch and a bit of play time.

    Roseanne, that's pretty much along the lines of what I read but there was also something to do with the stimulation of saliva which in turn had something to do with the stimulation of the digestive system. When I come back I want to be taller and have a photographic memory :haha: And I'm quite sure your calves are not wanting or lacking in any way, it's more looking at different, and sometimes better, alternatives.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  8. Heritage

    Heritage Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the input. For now, until I get more info, I'll stick with the bottles. I want to give my babies the best start possible. Thanks.
     
  9. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We generally don't have problems with scours here...well, didn't. Not until this past January, but that appeared to be a bug I probably brought home from the other farm I work at. :no: Lost two heifer cales to that (though one was not formed properly for some reason). The bull calf we lost never suckled or took a bottle. He was weak at birth.
    Haven't lost any since then. We just don't see it much here.


    Calfeterias sound like a wonderful thing, especially when you raise animals in groups. I know the bucket feeder I made for the goats was fantastic and they grew very big with constant access to Jersey milk....until I got a buck whose mother died when he was two months old. He didn't know how to nurse from those nipples and ripped holes in every single one. It got too expensive, so we quick using it.


    I love my photographic memory, except when I can see everything ona page but the one thing I need.
    I actually had the magazine right next to me at that point.

    Time is a big deal here with just myself and my father. The buckets are simpler and they get the liquids they need. Our calves tend to be quite friendly...well, from when they are on milk, until they join the herd as cows some lose some of the friendliness, but at that point we just need them catchable and even then some are overly friendly. once theya re in the herd again though. They will be overly friendly, to just slightly stand offis. Has more to do withb their personality though.

    If you have the time and set up for bottles, they probably are better. Calves raised on buckets, after a week of bottle feeding at the minimum can do just as well.


    How much do the calfeterias run in price. I realize they have a nipple that is just about indestructable and made in such a way that they don't have that sucking need after nursing.
    Though we rarely have more than five calves born in one month...ah, but taht will change. Next March and April we will hopefully have two thrids of our herd calving for semi-seasonal milking.
     
  10. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    FWIW I raise all my calves on bottles because I prefer it and I do think it is better for the calves, but I do know several dairies that raise them on buckets with no apparent ill effects.
     
  11. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that Roseanna, I had a good chuckle this morning at your post. Next time I'm in town I'll price the calfaterias but of course they will be in NZ $'s. They don't come cheap but they last forever - I've had my 10 feeder for 10 years and it will last the rest of my farming life and my two smaller ones are getting on for 6 years since I bought them and will last forever. The teats need replaced from time to time as they do get thin but they're not very expensive and the non-return valves are usually thrown in for nicks.

    Go for it Heritage - and I'm thinking we need to open a special forum just for you :) Only joking of course and I hope I speak for everybody when I say that we're only too happy to help and pass on our experiences.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  12. Heritage

    Heritage Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the imput! Now, after all of that, the little fella decided that he preferred the bottle anyway. After 2 or 3 feedings with the bucket, he wouldn't have anything to do with it. He'd dip his nose in it and walk away. When I poured it into a bottle, he came back over and ate. He takes a while to finish, all the others are done before him, and the stalls are cleaned out before he finishes up. He does seem to be doing better though, and I'm not in that much of a hurry anyway - a few extra minutes with him will probably do both of us good anyway. Thanks for all the help.

    Ronney: :grump: I'll tell you this, coming here and browsing the forum is a whole lot better than reading a book. I like to hear from those actually doing it. I know everyone has their own techniques and quirks, but that's what makes homesteading homesteading. If we did everything the same, life would get awful boring wouldn't it? Thanks for making me feel at home.
     
  13. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    i am in missouri but i had heard about the calfaterias from another forum and a lady from NZ well she sent me pictures they looked great so i order 2 ....6 nipple ones they were $66 each but they really work and easy to clean...lady did say the nipples do wear out and have to be replaced but they are only $3.50 each have now found them cheaper for $3.00 thats not that much on the amount of time saved...it also slows down the hog calf that wants it all...nipples slow them down to most alll get the same amout....will buy more as i get more calfs this year...john
     
  14. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    John, thanks for posting that. Any price that I could quote here would be in NZ dollars and would not accurately reflect what you in the States might have to pay.

    They are so easy to use and keep clean arn't they? As I said earlier, there is an opening over there for somebody in the plastics field as I'm sure they would become as popular as they are over here.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  15. Heritage

    Heritage Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have a couple of pics of one of these contraptions. I looked online but I'm not sure I'm seeing what you're talking about. Thanks.
     
  16. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Try this:
    Takes awhile to load.
    Calfeterias
    Edited to add: Scroll down and there are pictures of a couple without calves on them.
     
  17. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    heritage you can go to there web site in NZ to see picture if you want to oder you can order from tx web site is www.milk-bar.com click on north america it will then show you pictures indetail.....i have to of the 6 teaters works great i have 5 calfs on right now...the pictures are a little miss leading when you see the outside.....looks like it is just a bucket with nipples but the bottom has a grove on the bottom about 2 inches deep and thats were the nipples are so the calfs can drink all the milk but just a few drops............john
     
  18. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    Nasco has milk bar in 1, 2, 4, 5 nipple configurations and the also have a system called a peach teat gravity feeder in a 5 and 10 nipple configuration. They also seem to have a variety of nipples and adapters to make your own system.

    A friend of mine told me that when he was young a neighbor did 50 or so calves at a time. He used an old washing machine. Poured in his powdered milk replacer, agitated and then used the discharge hose to fill his calf trough. To clean you just ran a bit of soap and bleach through another wash cycle and WELLA!!!
    Pretty clever huh?
     
  19. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    hovey can we get a web link to nasco plze
     
  20. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    www.enasco.com

    I think everything is available online, but go ahead and request a catalog. Nasco is my candy store!!! I pull out their catalog at least once a week for either home or work.