Just what am I doing wrong with this calf?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by astrocow, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. astrocow

    astrocow Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    99
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    ont.
    I have a 2 and a half week old jersey bull calf. When I brought him home he came down with scours. Milk replacer was too rich so I cut it down. He got over the scours and I have been slowly building up the replacer all the while watching his stool for runniness. His stool has been light brown and soft. He has been continually losing weight so I made larger increases in the amount of replacer I mix into his feedings. I'm following the advice of another jersey farmer who said he gives 2 feedings per day of 2 pints at each feeding. My calf has a bucket of water within easy reach and he hasn't touched it. It's fresh and the same water that I use to mix the replacer. He has a bowl of calf starter and a bowl of oats. He won't touch them either. He will only eat it if I put it into his mouth. Today his eyes are sunken in. I have started to feed him electrolytes in his bottle. He's weak, wobbly and emaciated, has a good appetite and is alert. What am I doing wrong? I can't figure this out. I'm starving him? He will readily drink a full 4 pint bottle of electrolytes all at once. Is that volume too much for his stomach to handle all at once?
     
  2. Faith Farm

    Faith Farm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia
    We have a couple of jersey steer calfs on bottle now which we feed a half
    gallon (2 quart) bottle each 2x's per day. One 2 quart in AM other 2 quart
    in PM. Fortunately we hooked up with a friend who milks 3 Jersey cows we
    use for the little guys. They are doing great. We also have an Angus heifer
    calf on raw cows milk now but when we got her @ two weeks old she was on
    replacer. She is doing better now but the difference is striking. Raw milk is
    the best but if replacer is all you have give him two quarts a day. I've read
    here in this forum to give the calf a raw egg if the scours pops up again. Put it in his mouth and smash it. I have not done this but it sounds right. As the
    calf ages we water down the milk some until weined off entirely. Also, put in
    some started suppliment grain free choice to help him get going. You will
    notice he might not touch it @ first but will begin nibbling after a few days. I
    keep two pounds or so in it @ all times and a small trace mineral lick block.
    Hope this helps.
     

  3. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,246
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Location:
    Missouri
    We have always fed our Jersey calves 2 quarts of milk, twice a day. We do feed raw Jersey milk or raw goats milk. We don't start them out at 2 quarts a feeding....we slowly work them up to it.
     
  4. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,174
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Location:
    SE Ohio
    Can you post a picture?
    Jersey calves look thin just about all the time when raised on a bottle.
    What type of milk replacer are you feeding? Is it an all milk replacer or does it have soy in it? Is it medicated?
    We feed our Jerseys and Jersey/Norwegian Red calves two bottles a day (for the first week). The bottles are 2 quarts. When fed milk replacer (yucky stuff that!), we use Land O' Lakes Nursing Formula. An all milk replacer. We use 3/4s of a (10 oz. I believe) cup that comes with the replacer with water of course. The milk replacer instructions are generally geared towards Holstein calves. Jerseys are smaller so don't require quite the high content of the milk replacer.
    A calf this young is getting all his nutrient requirements from that milk. He isn't going to be real interested in the starter or the water for a bit yet, but it is good to have it available. Our calves don't normally take off on the starter until they are being weaned.
    Our calves do not get free access to water in our set-up. We make sure they get enough liquids at their twice daily feeding (one reason we switch to a bucket fairly quickly).
    He's had a stress. Change from one environment to another, change of feed probably. Very difficult for his little tummy.
     
  5. astrocow

    astrocow Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    99
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    ont.
    I posted my answers in the body of this letter. They are hard to see. There's a bit more at the bottom.

    I think what I've done is starve him unintentionally. Starting tomorrow morning he is getting goats milk. I'm just not sure how much I can get out of that goat. I just finished reading an article about Electrolytes for Dairy Calves and in it the authors suggest for a 70 pound calf 4.2 pounds of water and 3.5 pounds of milk daily. Does that sound right?

    I think some people I've talked to don't hear the word "jersey" and just go ahead and give me advice for a holstein or whatever. The dairy farmer I last spoke to about amounts of replacer to feed kept getting quarts mixed up with pints throughout his conversation. I am really trying my best with this little calf and I am failing miserably. It's 2:24 am and I am usually dead asleep by 10.
     
  6. evermoor

    evermoor Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    256
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    We raise a lot of jersey calves with little trouble. Almost all start with two quart ( one bottle) of cow (jersey) milk. Once in a while some calves don't drink it all, but soon will in a daay or two. After a couple of weeks they are switched to buckets and upped to three or four quarts a feeding, or about to bottles. Milk replacer even the whole milk kind doesn't have the calories of regular cow milk. At a place we would up the concentration say 1 1/2 or 2 scoops, esp. in the winter when extra energy is needed. Often our calves look like they are scouring but it is white pasty milk stool not watery dirrehea. I would suggest feeding electrolytes for a couple of feedings maybe with some egg or yogurt for extra energy. A shot of excenel will help any respritory problem.
     
  7. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,174
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Location:
    SE Ohio
    Goat's milk is definitely a better choice over replacer anyday. We keep our heifer calves on raw whole milk from their dam as long as possible before switching to replacer.
    The "Jersey Match" tm replacer by Land O' Lakes is what the school raises their calves on. If you can get someone from the feed store to help you set up your feed schedule with that product as it changes according to the calf's size and age.
    When our calves get real milk they usually get around 3 pounds after fourth feeding and the rest is water. When trained to a bucket they then are moved to 3 pounds of milk and up to 3-4 pounds of water twice daily. My grandmother spent years working on just the right feeding schedule for our calves and they do wonderfully on it.
     
  8. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    Here is what you do, take a deep breathe and relax for a second. The worst thing you can do is panic, overfeed him by forcing the issue, it will make him sick. How we feed our calves, or any calf we have fed is not overfeed. We fed usually two bottles a day, if it is too much, we cut back. If they have the runs we give them some pepto bismol, or cayopectate, it helps to harden the stool. Give them some milk, a little bit of grain, not too much, probably a lb. Don't worry about pushing his growth, let him grow some, get by a few weeks before increasing the grain intake a little. It sounds like his system isn't absorbing stuff, especially if his eyes sunk in some, might be dehydrating a little. Cayopectate is what I would give him for starters, one dose, 30cc I beleive (orally of course). Then feed him, observe him untill he gets solid manure. Once he does, he should begin to act better, and fill out some. As others mentioned, dairy animals don't always fill out, they can look skinny. When they eat heavy, they all of a sudden look fat. However that sunken in eye thing sounds a little like dehydration, and he needs something to hold things in a little better. Give er a shot, and get some sleep! :).


    Jeff
     
  9. astrocow

    astrocow Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    99
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    ont.
    Thank you to all for your advice. I have a better understanding of what to do now. Those scours really got me rattled and I was afraid of killing him by overfeeding. So I try kill him by starvation instead, lol. I took my deep breath, actually a couple of them, and was glad to see he was still alive this morning.
    The animals that are new to me are my learning ones and they suffer while I educate myself on the right way to take care of them. Books don't tell me everything. This jersey calf is by far the most complicated, for me anyway, to do right by.

    I really wish the feed manager at the store where I bought that land o lakes replacer had told me about Jersey's match. I would have gotten him to order it in for me.
    I'm learning.
     
  10. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    Special milk replacer I don't think is needed IMO. I know of a lady, she has to be one of the best, if not the best Jersey calf raisers around. She takes her calves, brings some into her house, in the basement. Gets them going on some milk, and then eventually grain. She weens them on warm water, feeds that with grain for a while, then eventually hay, and cold water. They do incredibly well. She doesn't feed replacer, but if it is the only option, and I have fed it too. The stuff we used was regular milk replacer, nothing special, calf did fine off it.


    Jeff
     
  11. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,490
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Make sure you are mixing the milk replacer adequately. I used to put water in the bottle, then add the replacer, then stick the beater on a hand mixer in the bottle and mix it for a minute or two. Just put one beater on the mixer.

    A wire whisk works ok too, but shaking the bottle doesn't seem to do the trick. It just clumps up.

    Jena
     
  12. arabian knight

    arabian knight Miniature Horse lover Supporter

    Messages:
    25,223
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Location:
    West Central WI.
    I just got done with bottle feeding a jersey calf. Now the way I do it is measure 2 qts in a bucket that has a nice pour spout on it, put in the amount of milk replacer. Then Use the Wire Whisk. when completely mixed pour that into the bottle. Bingo all mixed well with no lumps.. And after about 3 weeks of that I break them to a Bucket for the next few weeks of milk replacer. That way they get used to not only drinking from a bucket but will start drinking from a water bucket~! Works great that way. Now at almost 3 months old no more milk and is drinking water from a 50 gal water tank~! Cool.... And now not only is he eating grain fine and eating hay good. he is drinking and doing just great. And I have Already Banded him a few weeks ago and dehorned a few weeks ago also. So coming into the summer now he will be just great and over of the painful stuff.
     
  13. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

    Messages:
    4,869
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Monterey, Tennessee
    Astro in another week or so your animal will change dramatically, eating starter regularly, grass, hay and anything else that's enjoyable. My two Jerseys are now running in the fields, alert, happy and still look under-nurished. Take my advice as per pervious PM's and your calf will be fine. Bottle calves raised on milk replacer will never gain weight, the replacer just keeps them alive for approx. three to four week and then the grass, grain instinct kicks in and very slow weight gain begins. Stop beating yourself down, if you think the animal is slightly dehydrated then feed it a consume soup lunch to increase fluid intake. Hope this cheered you up. Tennessee John
     
  14. astrocow

    astrocow Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    99
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    ont.
    Yes I'm cheered up about the feed thing now.
    This evening after I was done giving him his dinner I sat and watched him for a while and noted that he was spending a lot of time licking at where his umbilical cord used to be. I had checked it before and saw a bit of fluid drip off but it looked like urine. This time when I checked there was a big drop of pus there. His joints aren't stiff or swollen. So I will be heading to town for penicillin tomorrow.
     
  15. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

    Messages:
    4,869
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Monterey, Tennessee
    Astro, you have a PM. Also sorry to hear that there are new complications possibly a contributing factor in the saga you are enduring. Keep us all posted and don't overfeed no matter how tempting!!! Jersey's and calves in general always look undernourished however this condition is completely normal for most bottle-fed calves. Write soon. Tennessee John
     
  16. dkdairygoats

    dkdairygoats Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    213
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    If you can, get a stool sample and bring it in to your vet. Have them send it in to a lab. This sounds an awful lot like cryptosporidia infestation. If not, it could be e.coli, coccidia, or giardia...all of which a fecal analysis will catch. Make sure he gets lots of fluids, diarrhea dehydrates them terribly. If it is one of the above, your vet will be able to help you treat him.
     
  17. andy gingery

    andy gingery Member

    Messages:
    15
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Location:
    k.s
    we have raised two jersey bull calves we had trouble at first.we were over feeding .land o lakes milkreplacer is a 16 oz cup.we put 8 oz to a half of a two quart bottle.take off milkreplacer for two feedings .give good electrolyte to help with the dehydration. thats a half a bottle. this receipe for electrolyte works for me: 1 tbs. brown sugar, 1 tbs. corn syrup, 1 tsp lite salt, 1 egg and 3 cc pepto, to 2 pints of 105-110 degree warm water. do this for two feedings. Then go back to feeding the milk replacer, water must always be between 105-110 degrees. We use land o lakes milk replacer, only use 1/2 of the cup, or 8 ounces of the powder to 2 pints of water. always leave fresh water and good grain for the calf. use the pellet feed with rolled corn and oats in it, they seem to like it a lot better. I would put about a pound. you may need to feed the calf some by hand, but just a little bit, after taking the bottle. we used to raise holstein or some other larger breeds and it just didn't seem right not feeding the jerseys the same amount. Jerseys will always look very thin, but remember do not feed them any more than 1/2 of a bottle per feeding. make sure to leave fresh water, they will drink when they need it. if you over feed a jersey, you can kill it. this is information from a jersey dairy farmer that we bought ours from. We fed more at first and had the same problem. thanks to this site and other people posting, we have had very good luck. we are weening at 7 weeks. yes, a full 4 pint bottle is too much
     
  18. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,246
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Location:
    Missouri
    I think this may be the way it is with milk replacer, but we have always worked our Jersey calves up to 2 full 1/2 gallon bottles of raw milk a day. Goat or Jersey milk. Working them up slowly is the key, they were generally on two full bottles a day by one week old. Maybe its the milk vs. milk replacer that makes the difference.....I can't stand feeding milk replacer personally, but some people have no choice, I know. :shrug: We have been raising Jerseys for 16 years this way.
     
  19. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,174
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Location:
    SE Ohio
    Our purebred Jersey calves always get a full 2 quart bottle twice daily (not necesarilly all milk but that much liquid) starting at birth. First three feedings is straight colostrum- a full bottle. Then they are dropped to 3 pounds milk/colostrum, the rest water. Depending on size they stay there or drop to 2 1/2 pounds milk until weaning. Only time we don't feed a whole bottle is for very small calves. Sandy's bull calf can't take in more than 3 pounds at a shot but he is much smaller than most of our Jerseys and is a little over a day old. I am amazed a calf would thrive on only 4 pounds of liquids a day...unless you have water available at all times and the calf is actually taking in water.
    We move calves to a bucket after about the first week so we can increase their liquid totals. Milk tends to stay around 3 pounds though, the water is increased.
    Even the ones on milk replacer. The cup that comes with the Land O' Lakes Nursing Formula we get is only a 10 oz. cup. Some are 16 oz. depends on which formula it is. Calves getting milk replacer get the same amount of lquids as the calves would with the raw milk.
    Scours just isn't something this farm deals with very often. It had been a few years since the last time we dealt with it but some new virus took a couple heifer calves (they didn't die of dehydration, the toxins killed them) last January. I probably brought it home from work with our luck. We lost two calves..haven't lost any since.
    A full bottle isn't going to automatically be bad for a Jersey, but with any calf, they each have their limit and you need to be aware of how they are digesting everything. You have a plan and need to be willing to adjust for each calf.

    Sounds like the calf may have a touch of navel ill as well. Bummer. Good luck!
     
  20. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    A typical calf on its mother drinks 22lbs a day or so. This is why they grow as fast as they do when on their mother. They also feed 5-7 times a day, makes a HUGE difference.


    Jeff