new calf advice

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by steff bugielski, Mar 14, 2004.

  1. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

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    I got a 10 day old calf to raise for meat. I have had him about 2 weeks. He had scours before I got him . The farm where he came from had given him electrolytes. When I brought him home he was doing fine, no scours. But he is very thin. I feed him milk replacer- 2 quarts 3 times a day, and about 1/4 cup of calf starter 2 times a day. He will not suck from a bottle nor will he drink from a pail, unless my hand is in the pail with his mouth( very time consuming) . He also will only eat the starter if I put it in his mouth, then he loves to chew it and wants more. Is this normal behavior for a young bull or is this one just stupid? He also just stands or lays down all day. Gets right up when I go out to feed him but then goes right back to his spot and naps for a few more hours. Is he bored or not feeling well? I have raised goats for meat and milk for 10 years and they seem to get going on their own in about 1 week . Am I just used to that.
    Any advice would be appriciated, STeff
     
  2. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    Are you using a quality milk replacer with actual milk proteins? The cheap stuff is soy based and calves cannot digest is properly. Follow the directions on the bag....I think mine always says 2 quarts twice a day, but I'm not sure. Whole milk is generally more expensive than quality milk replacer, but you could do that too. That soy stuff just kills them.

    Leave calf starter, hay and water out for him free choice, whether he's eating it yet or not.

    It sounds too me like he's just not getting enough nutrition and thus has no energy.

    Jena
     

  3. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Try this: Mix up the milk replacer with warm water, a raw egg and some sugar to sweeten. Straddle the calf to where the neck is between your thighs, head forward of course. You may have to hold his mouth open to insert the nipple. Just hold it in his mouth. He should swallow as it oozes out of the bottle and get the general idea. Once he is sucking good take off the pressure of your thighs and see if he stays until either he or the bottle is done. You may have to do the knee stantion procedure a couple of times.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  4. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

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    I checked the label of the replacer and the first ingred. is soy protein. Last night I mixed half and half with raw goat milk. He drank it all . and ate a handful of grain. This morning he does not want to get up. He has been eating enough food everyday but if there is no nutrient or he could not digest it he has been going down hill ever since. Is the goat milk ok for him. Is it too late. Anything else I could do for him.
    steff
     
  5. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

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    The little guy died today. I think it was the replacer. He seemed to eat enough but if he was not getting any nutrition from the soy he was starving while eating.
    So I am once again in the market for a bull calf. Anyone got one. I am in NY but will travel some.
    steff
     
  6. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I'm wondering if the calf got any colustrum shortly after birth. Some do OK with it and some are just poor doers and then die. You might also have a supply of LA200 on hand for the next one.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  7. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    He could have died for a variety of reasons, but the soy protein replacer definitely didn't help.

    Jena
     
  8. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    As Jena said. Also make sure the milk replacer has at least 20% fat content. Below that calves have difficulty.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  9. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

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    Would he do better on goat milk or mixing 1/2 replacer with goat milk.
    I will get different replacer,
    steff
     
  10. surfdakota

    surfdakota Guest

    I never liked getting calves like that. I usually get one that's born and weaned in the pasture with momma. They're most often the healthiest.
     
  11. I'm sorry to read that your calf died. It's always sad when you lose an animal.
    I can offer you some advice for the future. I grew up on a dairy farm in upstate New York and know from experience that very few farmers give their bull calves enough colostrum and some don't give the bull calves any colostrum at all. Colostrum is extremely important for newborn calves. It contains antibodies from the cow that will help protect the calf from getting sick in the first few days of life. In fact, without it, very few will survive. The reason farmers don't give their bull calves much colostrum is because they don't usually want to waste it on bull calves. Bull calves are almost always sold with in the first few days of life and the heifer calves are the ones the dairy farmers are willing to spend extra time and money on anyway.
    If you choose to raise a calf in the future there are several things I would do:
    1. Only buy a calf from someone you trust and who you know gave the calf plenty of colostrum after it was born.
    2. Never buy a calf that is not lively. Young calves that are healthy will be bright eyed, they will bounce around, and kick up their heals. They generally won't lay around and sleep all day.
    3. Healthy calves also have a strong sucking reflex. If the calf you're looking at does not have a strong sucking relfex I would hesitate to purchase it.
    4. I would also avoid a calf with scours. If it has scours it may mean that it didn't get enough colostrum and became ill. It may also mean that the farm carries a disease that you don't want to bring home.
    5. Always feed a very high quality milk replacer. It should have milk proteins as the main source of protein because a young calf doesn't have the ability to break down plant proteins yet. The milk replacer will cost more, but it will be worth it. Goat's milk may also be a good way to get nutrition into your calf.
    6. Make sure the calf has access to fresh water and calf starter/grain and hay at all times for the first few weeks. Once it starts eating plenty of calf starter or grain and eats hay you can start to wean it from milk. Most calves are weaned around 2 months of age on a dairy farm, but it varies when raising calves off a farm. If the calf seems to be doing really well you can wean them earlier, if they don't eat much grain or hay you can keep them on milk longer. It's entirely up to you.

    I hope this helps you out and I wish you success with your next calf.