My New Calf Won't Suck From Bottle

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by MERRYMEDIC, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. MERRYMEDIC

    MERRYMEDIC LIVE YOUR LIFE...

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    I bought a calf yesterday from the sale barn and I can't get her to suck the bottle. I believe she has been on her momma up till yesterday and she shows no interest in bottle feeding. I tried squeezing the nipple in her mouth and she will swallow, but not suck herself. She isn't weak, doesn't have any trouble breathing and she looks good. She is about 70 lbs. She is probably a month old I would think. I bought her Land O Lakes milk but I tried to feed her this special double medicated milk the guy at the Coop said she needed for her first day. Could it have had so much medication in it that it tasted so bad she wouldn't eat it? Also, when I stopped trying to feed her, she lowered her head and strarted eating straw. I have never had any trouble getting calves to take a bottle. Any suggestions?
     
  2. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Bingo, there's your problem! She has learned that milk comes out of a teat, not a nasty rubber nipple.

    You may be able to switch her over to a bucket. I wouldn't give up on the bottle just yet, though.

    Some calves are more difficult to bottle-feed than others. My usual strategy is to pour some milk on my hand, get a finger into the calf's mouth, as far back as possible to trigger the sucking reflex, wait until the calf starts sucking on my finger, then introduce the nipple. Usually you have to keep the calf's head tipped up and hold its mouth shut. You might try enlarging the opening in the nipple so the milk flows more freely. Just make sure not to drown her!

    Once she's good and hungry, I think she'll come around. Good luck and keep us posted on her progress. :)
     

  3. MERRYMEDIC

    MERRYMEDIC LIVE YOUR LIFE...

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    Sorry To Say, She Didn't Make It Through The Night. I Guess The Seller Knew She Was Ill And Needed A Quick Buck. Too Bad My Two Year Old Fell In Love With Her. Thanks For All You Help.
     
  4. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear that. That's one very good reason not buy calves that are too young. A hard lesson for sure. Time for some serious education to learn all you can. Somethings can't be helped no matter what you do. Don't be hard on the sellers or yourself. Get more determined to try again and learn all you can. No calf knows how to drink from a bucket either. We used to get them to suck our fingers and put our hand in the bucket. Patience is always required around animals too. very sorry.
     
  5. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Before obtaining another calf buy a tube feeder. Essentially it is a ball on the end of a stainless steel pipe with a flexable bag/bottle on the other end. Bag is filled with milk replacer. Tube is worked down into the calf's stomach and the bag drains through gravity. Go to your vet and buy the type they use from them. With the ball end it is difficult to put it down into the lungs. If the calf chews on the stem, it is in the right place.

    Last spring I killed a calf by trying to force it to take the bottle. Milk went down into its lungs, coated them and the calf basically suffiucated. I have a tube feeder. Was just trying to prove to myself it would take the bottle. Out of one of my best cows also. Lesson learned.
     
  6. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sorry to hear about the calf, Merrymedic. It probably had a really rough start and never had a chance. I hope the next one does really well for you.

    Jennifer