Dexter calf won't nurse

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. I've got 2 Dexter heifers and this morning the first calved. Everything went smoothly and she didn't need any help to deliver a pretty little female calf. The problem I'm having now is that the calf won't nurse and is getting weak.

    The heifer is trying to be a good mother and is licking her and nudging her but every time she would get near the teat the mother would turn around to lick her again. They circled each other for at least half until the calf gets tired and gives up. This has happened several times throughout the day.

    I've tried tying up the mother to a post and then forcing the teat into the calf’s mouth but she will rarely suck and get any milk. The front teats are pretty big and she has a hard time getting them into her mouth. The back teats are smaller and she has nursed a little off one of them but even after squirting milk into her mouth she just doesn’t seem interested and I'm usually fighting her the whole time.

    The last time I milked out a couple of pints into a calf bottle and have tried to feed her from the bottle but again she acts like she doesn’t like the nipple and tries to push it out of her mouth.

    In case it isn’t apparent, this is my first experience with animals and all I know is from reading books and stuff I find on the internet. I’ve run out of ideas and am getting worried that if I don’t get some milk into her that she will weaken, get sick and die.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Western NY
    Ok, I'm by no means an expert here but tie the cow again and hold the calf to the back teat, you at least need to get some colostrum in her and try and get that cow milked to relieve pressure on her. try putting your finger in the calfs mouth, is she sucking on it? Find out on the web here how to tube feed a calf, just incase you need to. You may be surprised, that calf may be feeding when you are not around, and do you have electrolytes at home? Google it if you don't and get a recipe to make some up if you need them. Call your vet, it's better to have him on stand by if you need him.
    Maybe someone else can offer some advice,

    carol K
     

  3. spparks

    spparks New Member

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    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    WY
    Electrolytes are great! When calf is healthy, I usually milk cow into a container, pour it into a long necked bottle (glass is best) it slips better. Then I push it down the throat, and use the long part of the bottle's neck as a tougue depressor, calf will swallow milk if tongue is down. Frequent small amounts are better than one big tankful, at first. After several days of this treatment the calf will get dependent upon all that good milk, and will upon doing without milk in bottle help itself to a teet.
     
  4. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Location:
    Minnesota
    If the calf is nursing, the mouth will be warm, if not the mouth will feel cold. If you attempt to tube feed the calf, MAKE SURE the calf is chewing on the tube! The calf will not chew on the tube if it has gone into the lungs.
     
  5. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Western NY
    How is your calf doing??? I hope things improved for you, let us all know,

    Carol K