What do I need to start some bottle calves?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by unioncreek, Oct 5, 2006.

  1. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 18, 2002
    SE Washington
    Its been a few years since I've raised any bottle calves, so I need a little input as to what supplies I should have on hand. It looks like I'll end up with more pasture than I will need for my cows and calves and I have access to calves at the university dairy. I've heard opinion on the forum about milk and soy based milk replacer, which is the best? I'm assuming a milk based on is, any name brands you can give me? What kind of medical products should I have on hand just in case I need them. I do have a place all set up for them and they will have access to a barn.

    Any help and advise is appreciated.

  2. john in la

    john in la Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2005
    First you need a place to keep them where they will not come in contact with any other animals; even each other. A post in the ground with a rope will work but it helps if they can get out of the rain.

    2 buckets; 1 for water and 1 for feed; preferably tied off the ground so they can not knock them over.

    A bottle and a good bottle scrubber. Milk buckets cause problems because they can not be cleaned well.

    A set schedule where you can feed at the same time every day; twice a day.

    The # of a vet and a working relationship with him or her. If the first time you call a vet is the day you need a house call you are in trouble.

    A 50 lb bag of a good name brand milk based milk replacer; (soy is for older calves) A bag of calf starter; and a bottle of white corn syrup (Karo) for making a electrolyte solution if needed.

    While these calves are coming from a closed herd you may want to talk to the vet before they arrive. When I use to bring in auction calves my vet would give me a one shot nasal spray to give them on arrival. This will also get your foot in the door with the vet and establish a relationship with him.

    Remember sanitation is king.
    Sanitation Sanitation Sanitation
    If this means scrubbing down a stall and spraying it then you need to do it.

    These are babies with minimal immune systems. Treat them like that and you will fare much better.

  3. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Nov 28, 2005
    Agree with all John has suggested. As to brands of MR, we have had good success with Land O Lakes Maxi-Care product. Only thing I would add is have a supply of dry bedding. Straw, wood shavings, hay, or the like. Keep calf well bedded as the weather turns cold.
    Dry Bed and consistent feeding a good strategy. Best Luck with it.