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Thread: Question about bottle feeding calves

  1. #1
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    Default Question about bottle feeding calves

    I have four bottle babies a Charolais, Angus, 2 HolsteinXLonghorn They are all about 4 days old. I have two older full Holstein bottle babies that are just about ready to wean. My question is is there another way of feeding all these babies other than the bottle? Wow it's a job but I love it. They are not separated so while I'm feeding one the otheres are sucking on my hands and arms and shirt. I've seen the buckets with a nipple on them but I would think when they rooted on it all the milk would spill out. Plus I have trouble with them sucking on each other! UGH! I really don't have a way right now to separate them. Then I've got one the little Charolais that is about 4 days old has pretty runny stools that are yellow but is alert runs plays should I do anything about that or will it correct itself? My older ones had yellow stools kinda runny but turned out fine they are growing like weeds. Sorry for all the questions when I bring them home from the auction barn I've been giving them a shot 5cc of Pen G and worming the with Ivomec injectable by mouth. Should I be doing anything else for the little guys? I love what I'm doing and I have people wanting these in a couple of weeks some want them now but I want to make sure they are doing good first.

    Please any advice I would find very helpful.

    Thank you
    Kitty

  2. #2
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    Alternatives to bottles...
    1) never have used nipple buckets, but they look like a pain to clean!

    2) don't bother with any sort of bottle after 3 days old. i bottle feed for the first 3-4 days to make sure they get colostrum and a good start. once they are wolfing that bottle down, usually 3-5 days, they learn to drink from a pail. i've found they figure out how to drink in a feeding or two. i've also found if you don't stand over them and baby them while bucket training them they figure it out better. if there on the bottle for weeks they seem to take longer to adapt to the pail. however, any type of feeding system is going to be a pain in the hind quarters with the calves in a single pen. sucking each other is not good either especially if you plan to use these crittters as milkers or breeders. it also spreads diseases.

    The yellow, runny stool is normal in young calves.

    Oh and be sure to have calf starter available to them!

    Jake

  3. #3
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    Jake, thank you so much for your reply!!! The buckett sure sounds like a better idea and a lot less of a head ache.

    I'm not sure if the give them any colustrum (spelling???) are not since they come from the sell barn. Do you think I should try and buy some at the feed store and try to give that to them first? If so what kind do you think is good? Any shots I should be giving them at this time?

    Sorry about all the questions, I want to try and do what's right.

    Kitty

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitten0503 View Post
    Jake, thank you so much for your reply!!! The buckett sure sounds like a better idea and a lot less of a head ache.

    I'm not sure if the give them any colustrum (spelling???) are not since they come from the sell barn. Do you think I should try and buy some at the feed store and try to give that to them first? If so what kind do you think is good? Any shots I should be giving them at this time?

    Sorry about all the questions, I want to try and do what's right.

    Kitty
    Giving them colostrom at this point won't do any good. It's ability to absorb the good stuff from colostrum has ended. I forget how long it is, but I know it's not longer than a day old when they lose this ability. Sooner they get it, the better.

  5. #5
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    Thank you Eljefe!! I have been wondering about that and was feeling guilty by not buying it so now I feel better! Should I have given them a Pen G? I gave them 5cc's and they weighed right at 100lbs.

    Kitty

  6. #6
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    Oct 2006
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    SC KY, transplant from Mitchagain
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    Default Baby calves

    We keep amodium-AD around just in case they get too runny. Follow the directions just like for us.

    With calves in a group pen, we have best luck with little stantions. Then they can't suck each other. And when your finished with the milk, they can eat starter.

  7. #7
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    Kicknbull, thank you for your reply. I'm going to sound real stupid here but how do you fix stations? Are they tied up or do you have little stalls for them? If it is a stall how big does it need to be?

    Thank you again for your help.
    Kitty

  8. #8
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    Someone maybe can give you exact dimensions, but I've seen luck with using something as basic as pallets to seperate newborns. Just stand them upright and securely fasten them. I prefer loose confinement over tying, because they seem to have a "talent" for getting themselves into some odd situations. Even in huts with a wire in front they "detag" themselves, bail over the wires, etc. etc. Those little boogers are talented.
    Work is either fun or drudgery. It depends on your attitude. I like fun.

  9. #9
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    Born2run, that is a great idea!! I will give that a try because right now we're going to be fixing a place until we can build a better building than what we haver right now. Wow great idea!

    I have another question hope you don't mind but is it normal for the babies to get a little bit of a snottie nose? I have given them 5cc of Pen G when I brought them home because I got them at the sale barn. Their doing fine running and playing eating very well just once in a while I'll see just a little bit come out of one of their noses. I see it once in a while from some calves I got at the sale barn that were not bottle babies they where eating feed but just once in a while I see one of them have it and then it's gone. Do I need to worry about this? Everyone seems to be doing real good. I just don't them to get sick because I didn't do anything.

    Thank you
    Kitty

  10. #10
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    Everyone has given great advice, while we have been digging out of the latest blizzard!!

    I would say the snot is normal. As long as the calves are-well being calves running, playing, kickin' there heels up etc. You shouldn't have a problem. It's when there hanging there heads, droopy ears, sunk in eyes, no appetite, sluggish you got problems.

    The pallets are a good idea. Look around your area, many manufacturing places give them away for the taking. Watch for pertruding nails of course.

    Jake

  11. #11
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    Oh Jake thanks! I was really worried about the snottie nose thing. Yes, there are usually free pallets are here now I'll have to keep my eyes open and go get them to make my little pens.

    Everyone has been so great to help me with these questions I have. I hope I'm not driving people crazy here. I've been very blessed with my calves so far and want to keep doing the right thing for them.

    When do I need to vaccinate them and what should I vaccinate for?

    Thanks again!
    Kitty

  12. #12
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    If you aren't necessarily sure whether a calf is sick or not, I don't think it'd hurt to have a thermometer around. They are pretty cheap but worth it.

    When my calf feeder has even a sneaking suspicion of a sick calf, taking its temperature is the first thing she is told to do (temp is taken rectally).

    Some people may have other guidelines, but our guidelines are when the calf is between 101.0 and 101.9 degrees Farehnheit, she will simply continue visual monitoring.

    Between 102.0 and 102.9 we'll continue taking the temperature until it raises or lowers. With strong visual signs of sickness, I'll start an antibiotic treament (Draxxin works the best but is VERY expensive).

    Over 103.0, I almost automatically start antibiotic. I consider anything above 103.0 to be a fairly strong fever. Some may have a lower threshold than that.

    I'm not sure how much a small digital thermometer is, but it's well worth the investment. You probably wouldn't need one of those big fancy expensive ones, there are some pretty cheap, simpler digital models out there.

    At the very least, it could help confirm any sickness before you proceed with whatever you want to do, along with tracking the progress of any treatments you give them.

  13. #13
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    Eljefe, thank you for that information. Is it the regular rectal thermometer you use on people? If so I have one of those and I have a digital one for people.

    Thank you that is some very important information.
    Kitty

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitten0503 View Post
    Eljefe, thank you for that information. Is it the regular rectal thermometer you use on people? If so I have one of those and I have a digital one for people.

    Thank you that is some very important information.
    Kitty
    I don't know that there is any appreciable difference between any thermometers used for human use or animal use. Personally, I prefer the digital because I have trouble reading the non-digitals to the precision I like.

    I'm guessing your thermometers would work fine on the calves, I just wouldn't use them on humans after using them on a calf

  15. #15
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    Eljere, thank you. I'll use the digtal one I have and buy me a new one

  16. #16
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    We don't very often use a thermometer, but more go on outward signs that something is off. Something as minor as a calf not waiting on it's milk can trigger a shot of Naxcel. Scours they get "Deliver" with water, the younger calves are fed "Smart Start" along with milk replacer. Be proactive, NOT reactive.
    Work is either fun or drudgery. It depends on your attitude. I like fun.

  17. #17
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    Kitten - Just a suggestion about what your post suggests you are doing. If you buy calves at an auction and bring them home, I should think it would be playing it safe if you keep the new incoming calves physically separated from the calves already at home. Perhaps for an observation period of 5-7 days at a minimum. This would protect your investment.

    Do you have a plan for dehorning these calves?
    If bull calves, have you planned how and when you will turn them into steers?
    If they are to be marketed as feeder steers, I should think 9-Way Vaccination and Blackleg Vaccination would add value and marketability. Premature to vaccinate at the age calves you describe though.
    Last edited by FayeFarms; 12-26-2007 at 12:03 AM. Reason: Caint spel rite.

  18. #18
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    FayeFarms, thank you for the information I have not thought about the dehorning process I guess I was thinking I wouldn't have them that long. We were going to band the babies and turn them into steers but I'm not sure what age would be the best. When should that be done? I know nothing about dehorning I've never even seen it done.Yes, I am able to keep them apart when I first bring them in which is very good. When is a good time to vacinate the babies? So far I've just listed them in the paper and sold them I'm not sure of any other way to sell them unless they get older and I run them back thru the sell. Do you have any suggestions on what to do with them after they are weaned other than what I mentioned? The ones I have now look like Charolias and I know the others I have are Holstein and Longhorn cross. I also purchased an angus baby that I thought was a boy but it is a female so we want to keep her for breeding. I know I'm crazy!!! I purchased all these babies for under $100.00 each. I thought was a very good bargin.

    Hope I didn't rattle on to much but I was hoping the would give you a better picture of what I am thinking. I noticed your from Kansas my husband is from
    Kansas also and still have family there.

    Thank you so much can't wait to hear back from you on your thoughts
    Kitty

  19. #19
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    The female you bought could be a freemartin. That is a heifer that had a bull for a twin. Almost all of them won't be able to reproduce.

    Best way to tell is to take a thermometer and insert it vaginally. If it goes all the way in, she's all good. I have what is called a free martin probe, but all that is is a glorified piece of plastic.

    I've heard of a few guys being burned by going to the sale barn and buying heifer calves, only to find out later that they are sterile.

  20. #20
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    Oh gosh, I read about that in an article once they were talking about that in Holsteins. They were saying at the auction barns the buyers would pencil them and sometimes to hard I was thinking it was mostly Holsteins that had twins and not the beef cattle.

    Oh goodness well I better learn how to do that So it doesn't have to be very long right? So if the thermometer goes in most of the way she is good? If she is a freemarti will it go in very far? UGH!! Poor thing

    Wow now I'm thinking I have 4 heifers I bought at the auction barn that are eating and doing very well they weigh at least 300-350 what should I do with them does it work on those when their that big? I have one Angus that has an overbite but I think we need t sell her or butcher her and not breed her. I'm afraid she will pass that on.

    Ok, now that I'm good and concerned I'm going to try and do it to the baby angus tonight when I bottle feed.

    Thanks that gives me something to think about.

    Kitty

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