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I have a heifer who calved 2 weeks ago. After a week the calf looked so pitiful I started bottle feeding him and left him in with her for 1 more week. She never really had much milk so I pulled the calf off and moved him up closer to the house. Since she is a heifer should I keep her and give her another chance next year, or will she probably not produce any milk next year too?
 

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How old is she, what breed and what is her body conditioning and did you buy her as a red heifer or raised her yourself and had you supplied her with mineral?

I'm inclined to forgive a heifer and while I am not there to assess the situation or see the calf, I would consider supplemental feeding before I would totally pull a calf but that is a decision I would base on circumstances and that doesn't ensure that all will be well. Did consult with a vet or consider a shot of oxytocin.

If you purchased her as a bred heifer, I would base my decision on the care and condition she received prior to your ownership, if the calf was premature and also if she showed any maternal instincts at all. If it is a heifer, I raised, I base my decisions on lineage, maternal skills of her mother and if she showed any maternal instinct at all.
 

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She is a hereford./ She is 2.5 yrs old, good body condition she had free choice minerals, good maternal instincts her mom was good with her and the calf she has now. I did start giving her feed and didnt seem to show much input. I left the calf with her an extra week after I started bottle feeding it.
 

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Are you willing to bottle feed next year's calf, or sell it as a bottle calf to someone else if she doesn't produce enough again? If not, she might need to go. Is she a cow that you would be wanting to keep her offspring for breeding stock, or do you just need her to produce beef? Being able to support a calf is a kind of important trait to pass on to the next generation, but if you're only looking for meat, it might be worth the gamble to keep her another year.
 

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How are you supplementing this mother?
Are you sure she has no milk (udder size is not always a good indication of what's available). Have you penned her with her calf away from the other cows and calves?
Did the calf get any startup shots at birth (Bo-Se or Vital E is what we give calves)?
Is the calf up and energetic? What are you feeding it?
Have you consulted your vet about this?

I hate to dismiss a heifer on her first try without giving her every opportunity to succeed.
 

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Have not spoke to the vet yet, going there tomorrow. I seperated her and her calf from the other cows. for a week. When I started giving the calf milk which he was 8 days old he started doing alot better. He started gaing weight and became more energetic. He would go try to suck her after I fed him and would keep going from nipple to nipple and it appeard he wasnt getting any milk at all. No shots or vaccines given to calf. Im feeding the calf milk replacer. Supplementing tho cow with feed.
 

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If the calf was alive after 8 days, the heifer had something. A vet would have likely advised you give the heifer a shot of oxytocin to help with milk production.

Do you know if the calf was a bit premature.
 

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I had one like that last year. I sent her off to the abattoir as soon as she'd weaned her skinny calf. I didn't supplement him, but I wasn't willing to let her do the same thing again. I breed heifers with milk and she didn't have any. I'm watching her half-sister this year with interest. So far she has a much fuller udder and things are looking alright.
 

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I have a heifer who calved 2 weeks ago. After a week the calf looked so pitiful I started bottle feeding him and left him in with her for 1 more week. She never really had much milk so I pulled the calf off and moved him up closer to the house. Since she is a heifer should I keep her and give her another chance next year, or will she probably not produce any milk next year too?
It is impossible to make any suggestions on whether to keep her or not based on the information provided. I can, however, tell you that a first time heifer will almost always milk better the 2nd(and subsequent) time. Did you raise this heifer or buy her? If you raised her, how does her mother milk? Grandmother? If raised, what kind of condition was she in prior to being breed? If she was overly conditioned, she could have fat deposits in her udder. If that is the case, they are will interfere with her milking ability, and they are permanent. What were you feeding her prior to deliver and after delivery? Pasture alone or supplementing with feed? Heifers don't finish growing until around 3 years of age, so if she was on pasture alone she was not being provided with the nutrition necessary to support milking, let alone her continued growth and development. Anytime I have a poor milking animal, the first place I look is my management. More information is needed, please.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I bought her when she was a calf at about 2 weeks old. It was a cow calf pair from a private seller. Her mom does just fine and appears to have more than enough milk. Not sure about her Grandmother. This heifer was on pasture and free choice minerals. No supplemental feed really all through her life. She was 18 mos old when she was bred. Thanks for your help and interest in helping me. This is only my 3rd batch of calves so I'm still learning.
 

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wouldn't she bring a better price if she was bred back prier to selling? even first stage? that is, only if you have the bull and pasture available. spring prices for a bred cow would be better to...
 

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Selling her now, someone could still buy her for a brood cow. Unless the op sales her privately, they won't control who buys her for what. And as others have been posting, some are willing to give her another chance. By all means, the op can pass along her information to the new buyers...
 

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When the discussion started I was going to vote for selling her, especially with prices as high as they are. But, my comment is in regard to those who are concerned with passing a problem cow onto someone else: When cows that size are sold at the sale barn the overwhelming odds are she will be bought to be butchered. MacDonalds needs hamburger. As for a cow being bred and listed as such at the sale, it doesn't seem to make much difference.

COWS
 

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So you sell a known problem on to someone else?
I'm not sure she would be a problem. I have asked a couple times if the calf was possibly a bit premature and received no response but if it was, there is a good chance that milk production would have increased.

In my experience, a heifer may not raise and outstanding first calf but I assess them less critically than I would a mature cow so I've kept more than a couple that others may have sold and had them turn into outstanding cows that have given me many good calves.

Unfortunately, when you're information comes from someone with limited experience, it's not always easy to know what they are seeing and inexperienced owners often interfere too early, too late or not in the way someone with more experience might.
 

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I've dealt with many heifers as first-time mothers. Most of them rear a calf which is lighter than her following calves will be. But there's a distinction between "light" and "underfed". I've had two heifers which had insufficient milk: they really couldn't provide enough to allow their calves to grow, let alone put on healthy amounts of flesh. Those ones I culled with no second chance. The minimum a heifer must do is rear her calf to be healthy. Partly-starving is not healthy.
 
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