Orphan Highland Bull Calf

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by MARCUS, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. MARCUS

    MARCUS New Member

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    Although the calf lost its mother 5 days ago he appears in a active healthy condition, and, after overcoming the initial anxiety of close human contact combined with the bottle feeding trauma, now appears a little more calm.

    Not having encountered this situation previously, I am concerned about dealing with the problem appropriately.

    The bottle feeding exercise has improved from almost force feeding to something more relaxed, with a cooperative calf, but still characterised largely by squirting milk into a calf reluctant to have it. He certainly doesn’t make an effort to suck.

    After this evening's attempt I supplied some juicy grass which he immediately munched on.

    I have an instinct that he really is faring well with a serious interest in grass, also, that he is not enthusiastic about the rich milk replacement. I wonder just how essential the milk replacement is, and, until what age, also, if I should immediately introduce cereals which he may find more palatable.

    My intention is to keep him in his holding pen surrounded by the remainder of the herd until he is tame and enthusiastic about contact. The other animals come to me when I call or when I am within their field of vision. When he feels as secure I reason that he will come freely and I can bottle feed if this is required.

    This strategy is evolving 'on the hoof' so to speak so that I would welcome more experienced views.

    Thank-tyou !

    Marcus.
     
  2. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    How old is the calf?

    Jena
     

  3. MARCUS

    MARCUS New Member

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    HE'S ABOUT SIX WEEKS NOW JENA.

    MARCUS
     
  4. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Are there other cows in the herd 'in milk'?

    If so, my guess is that he's stealing milk from one or more of the other mommas.

    A calf that refuses to take milk usually is sick, weak and obviously in trouble.

    A healthy, boisterous calf that refuses a bottle consistently probably is getting food somewhere else! :D

    I have noticed that our steer, who was raised by a (somewhat reluctant, in the beginning!) foster mother starting eating grass and grain sooner than our heifer, who is being raised by her very indulgent mother.

    In fact, I fear the heifer will still be nursing when she's equal in size to her mother! :eek:

    What a picture that would make, eh?! ;)
     
  5. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I'd give him free choice calf starter. Calf starter is high energy and highly palatable (lots of molasses). You will have to convince him to start eating it...put some handfuls in his mouth or if he's liking bottles now, try mixing a bit of milk with it to get him going (don't leave the mix sitting too long as it will spoil).

    I would not give hay yet as he might fill up on that and not get all the vitamins, etc he needs.

    I would continue the bottles. Use only a QUALITY milk replacer...not the soy-based stuff. Some wean them earlier than others...I like to go for 10-12 weeks, but you don't have too. I think you can quit bottles once they are eating a certain amount of starter per day, but I can't remember how much it is...says it on the starter label.

    Make sure he has fresh water at all times.

    Jena