Calf Dilemma

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Ken Scharabok, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    One of my favorite cows has a large bag with big tits last year, but raised a bull calf. This year I had to take a heifer away from her as it appeared to be starving. I had been keeping an eye on her, and one quarter was usually WAY down, so figured the calf was sucking that one. Now realize that quarter had dried up as there was no change when I pulled the calf away.

    Brought calf up to barn at about a week old. Simply refused to be bottle fed. May take a couple of swallows and then quits. If I keep the bottle there she will swallow what leaks down into her throat with great reluctance. Thus, am having to still tube after about a week. She is getting a bit better as she is getting hard to catch.

    What to do with calf? My guess is it didn't receive colustrum. Just doesn't seem to have much of a will to live. My past experience has been if you can't get a calf on a bottle after a couple of days, there is little long-term hope.

    Front half looks OK, very spindley in the rear.

    One option is to take cow/calf to the sales barn. Likely they would send the cow to the slaughter pen and sell the calf separately. However, that would be just passing the problem on to someone else.

    I don't know how much longer I can force feed it. After a week the cow may not claim it and, even if she did, calf likely wouldn't be an agressive sucker, which would be needed for the cow. Even though the calf is much stronger now I simply doubt she would take to the cow.

    Today I'll put out a pail of water and some calf grower to see if she eat any of it. I have not seen her have any interest in any of the good hay available.

    Since she is either likely to die, or be a lifetime poor doer, just put her back with the cow and see what happens. Worse can happen is it starves with momma.
     
  2. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

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    I would can the cow, for sure, after all this passes. The calf, if you tube them too long, they wont go back to sucking. Let her get hungry, changes are she will suck...or die. Its going to have to be one way or the other. Put them together and walk away. Might be nice if you had a pen somewheres that you could stick them in.
     

  3. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

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    Did the cow have milk in the other quarters? Was the calf working any of the other teats?
     
  4. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I'll make the assumption there is milk in the other three quarters. Back two tits are fairly large. Front good side is small enough the calf should have been able to get on it. The cattle are down at the other end of the farm and I pretty well only see them every couple of days to put out hay. No idea if the calf was nursing the three remaining tits. Must have as I doubt it would have lived for a week otherwise. Possible it was nursing, but not very vigerously.
     
  5. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I'd haul at least the calf. It is possible that someone else will have better luck than you in feeding it. I'd sell the cow as soon as it dried up.

    Jena
     
  6. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Jena:

    Remains an option, but may not be cost effective. Two way gas to sale and then the livestock market fees. As thin as she looks in back, likely wouldn't bring much, so might net out only $20-30. I simply don't like passing my problems on to someone else. If I can't do anything with her, I strongly suspect someone else wouldn't be able to either.

    Plan right now is to not feed her this evening to see how she acts in the AM. Did put a bucket of water and some calf grower in with her. Will be hard to tell though if she takes any of the grower as the ducks, when they find it, go through for the corn.

    If she were an aggressive sucker I'd put her back with the cow. However, my gut reaction is they will just look at each other.
     
  7. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

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    I would take her as a 'project' if I was nearby you....maybe call a FFA or 4-H (older members of course) to see if any are willing to take her on as a project. That way they can learn from it.

    Best of luck! ;)
     
  8. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    I'd keep on feeding the calf myself and see what happens. Just me but I wouldn't feel good about selling her to anyone. If an animal isn't 100% healthy they shouldn't be sold. It doesn't sound like she would make it back with the mother.
     
  9. cowgirlracer

    cowgirlracer Well-Known Member

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    Can you "lock them up" together? Milk the cow, put some on the calf and hope that the mama takes her back?
     
  10. momanto

    momanto SW FLORIDA HAPPYLAND

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    Bump - Maybe Some More Tips Will Come In And Maybe Ken Will Give Us An Update. I Sure Hate To Loose One.
     
  11. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    If you continue to tube the calf for another 8 to 10 days it will start to eat the calf grower. Once it gets on solid food it may not be a show calf but it will have value. You can then send the calf and the cow to the market. No way should you keep the cow unless you want a repeat situation.
     
  12. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Have you tried any molasses on bottle nips? I do this to get nanny reared kids to drink from good warm bottle with cocci meds in it...
     
  13. jersey girl

    jersey girl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We had a calf that was not able to nurse when it was born. It got no colostrum, or very little. Mom's teats just seemed to be too big. Mom is 1/2 full jersey and 1/2 mini jersey. She was bred to a full mini. We milked mom, force fed calf moms milk for a while. Calf finally started taking the bottle on its own. We kept the calf penned up so alone so we didn't have to chase him around to feed him. After about 2 months, we released the calf thinking he could play with the other calves by now. Mom walked up, sniffed him, cleaned him and by the next day he was nursing from her.
    Never would have believed it had I not seen it. He is now a year old and very healthy.
    Good luck
     
  14. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Operative word is you were feeding the calf her milk. She apparently still recognized the calf's scent (from her milk) and the calf smelled her milk. This one is on milk replacer.

    Only fed yesterday morning hoping it would hungry this AM. No change. Resigned to tubing it for a while and seeing what happens. Will still try the bottle first, but...

    Killed one last year by trying to force bottle feeding. Milk went into lungs.
     
  15. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    To end thread, calf died sometime last night.
     
  16. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ken, my guess is that this calf either didn't get colostrum, had something wrong with it in the first place, or both.
     
  17. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've had two calves that appeared normal who absolutely would not be fed by me. The second calf was a bull and I said nuts to him and gave him to my milk hauler who assured me he could fix anything. Two days later he told me he'd sent it to auction. :) The first calf was a heifer that I tube fed, I kid you not, for four weeks. She WOULD NOT drink from a pail, she WOULD NOT suck. These are dairy animals, so weren't running with Mom. What finally happened with her was she got loose one day, and I saw her sucking a cow. She was just that stubborn that she was in no way going to cooperate with me. After that it seemed to break the dam loose and she started drinking from a pail. I have no idea why she was like that, though. Thank goodness it was the only calf like that I'd had. I think my bull and your heifer calf were probably alike in that they were born without a suckling response. Probably some kind of birth defect. Too bad you lost her. It's irritating as heck to have to deal with an animal like that and have them die on you anyway, after doing everything you can for them. Plus to be saddled with getting rid of the cow, too. Hope the rest of the herd doesn't have "surprises" in store.

    Jennifer
     
  18. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Cow must have realized her time had come. I hadn't intended to take her to the livestock barns, but... Guy called and asked me to haul two cows, two calves and a bull. When I went out to get the trailer the cow as at the gate to go into where I have two heifers and two first calving cows. Let her in. We loaded his and came back for her. She was already walking into the corral. Changed her mind a bit at that point, but we got her loaded and hauled.

    Dang, she had to be one of my favorites.
     
  19. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yeah, it sucks culling one ya like. Best get those bad tits out of the gene pool though.