Calf that won't nurse

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by genebo, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Help! We have a new calf on the ground over at Steve's farm. It's a heifer and all went perfectly until she tried to nurse. The mother, a first time calver, wouldn't let the calf nurse. At first she backed away and turned, but later she kicked at the calf.

    This went on for a couple of hours, with the mother kicking at the calf when it tried to nurse. Then the calf laid down. The mother tried to get the calf back up, but no go. Finally the calf stood, but wouldn't try to nurse.

    I'm guessing that the calf got too tired to continue, or else the mother kicked it and injured it.

    After a bit, we got the mother into a head gate, tied her hind legs, and put the calf under her. No go. I stood the calf up and held her mouth to the nipple and squirted milk into her mouth. Nothing. I didn't even see the calf swallow.

    I milked a little and scooped it into the calf's mouth. It seemed to stay in at first, then dribbled out. We put mother's milk in a bottle and tried to get the calf to drink. She made a couple of feeble nurses, gupled once, and then quit. The rest of the milk dribbled out.

    Who has any suggestions? It's now been 8 hours. I'm afraid we're running out of time.

    By the way, Steve called every vet he knew, and half a dozen he didn't know. None returned his calls. I came home and called my vet. He called back while I was feeding my cows and said he'd call back later.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm
     
  2. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Strip some colostrum out of the mother(preferably with her in the chute as you have described). Then, use an esophogeal tube feeder to feed the calf it's colostrum. This should perk calf up and get her going, then put her back on mother's udder to nurse....good luck.
     

  3. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hooray,

    After 9 hours, she finally nursed. She drank like it was the last drink she'd ever get.

    Mama made a last couple of kicks before resigning herself to the inevitable.

    Mama is a 3 year old first calver, without any other mothers in the pasture to guide her. I think it had been so long since she was around calves and mothers, she had a hard time figuring out just what to do.

    Thanks for all the help, here and on the telephone.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm
     
  4. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Persistance Overcomes Resistance :)