More than 1 calf on cow

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Shagbarkmtcatle, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. Shagbarkmtcatle

    Shagbarkmtcatle Hillybilly cattle slaves

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    Has anyone put more than 1 calf on a cow and then after weaning that batch of calves, started over with a new batch? If so, how long should you keep the calves on the cow before weaning? I am considering a Jersey, any suggestions?

    John Lee
     
  2. Danny

    Danny Active Member

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    We are doing this now and have done this for years. It depends on the cow somewhat, how much milk is she giving? We normally have 2 calves on the cow at a time. Some cows we have had more.
    We usually keep them on the cow about 8 weeks. By 8 weeks the calf is usually eating lots of feed. But however long it takes make sure your calf is eating good and go from 2 feedings a day to 1 for the last week or 2.
    Then you can start over with new calves. Feed the cow very good during this time. Hope this helps.
     

  3. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Look through the Countryside and Small stock Journal archives. Years ago they ran an article about a farm that was marketing veal calves this way. They were using Dutch Belted cows and marketing around 12 calves per cow per year.
     
  4. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It takes a lot of management to keep the calves healthy this way. You are typically dragging in all kinds of calves, and all kinds of bugs, this way. A cow can usually milk 305 days, tho it depends on the breed & individual somewhat, and they can support 2 calves pretty well. You probably need the calf on 2-3 months each til weaning.

    Getting the cow to accept new calves is a _real_ trick. I've had a cow that does _not_ want her own calf, and I've had one that wanted _everyones_ calf as hers and would fight the other mothers for them - but generally they do not like strange calves, only their own.

    --->Paul
     
  5. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    I disagree, Rambler, except in the case of beef cows. Dairy cows, and especially Jerseys, are often more than happy or at least willing to raise strange calves. Some cows you might have to hold for the first few feedings. We have years of experience doing this also. We have one old Jersey who as soon as she knows a strange calf is on the place starts bawling for it.
    Even with beef cows I've seen a cow raise an orphaned calf, but the calf usually has to figure out that it has to nurse quick while the cow's own calf nurses.
     
  6. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Holstien & angus is all I can really see for miles & miles around here..... ;)

    Yes, an older calf will learn to steal some milk while the 'real' kid is milking, but that takes some time & effort. I've grafted a few calves in my day, & it is not easy - here anyhow.

    I have one right now, mom swelled too early, no milk for her calf, and another one just calved. See if I can teach the little fellow to go steal from the new cow in a few days. But it's not easy for all to get along. :)
     
  7. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    My Jersey will feed every calf in the pasture if they want to nurse her. As soon as she has a calf, we put two more on her. She has to be separated from the other cows so her calves will get the milk. We usually sell the first calves at 2 months old except for 1 bull calf that we keep for the freezer. We'll let him suck for a couple of months longer & get another baby to help him. At 4 months, we wean the freezer calf & his buddy & put 2 more on her. If she doesn't get bred back to calve again in a year, we might put another one on her when these two are weaned.
    We have tc do a lot of doctoring for scours, & it really gets old after awhile, but it is worth the trouble to get so many calves raised on one cow.