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we just bought a 1 week old bull calf from the farm across the way..we have a 4 week old already,i can not get the new one to take a bottle, he was still with his mother yesterday. is this normal? maybe he just needs time to get real hungrey? thanks for the help.
-- renee oneill (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 28, 2000
Renee, I use to have a plastic bottle with nipple. When a new calf would not suck, I would place the nipple in its mouth, tilt the calf's head way back and force milk into its mouth by squeezing the plastic bottle. It would not be long before it was feeding on its own. It was that or drown.
-- JerryR(La.) (email@example.com), June 28, 2000.
He may need a little more time .Will he suck your fingers ? If so put the milk in a pail , let him suck your finger and slowly move down to the bucket .It may take some work but will be easier in the long run.
-- Patty Gamble (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 28, 2000.
renee, when I get a calf that is to be bottle feeded ,I wait a least 24 or 36 hours after I buy it before trying a bottle. that way I know it is real hungry and it will take the bottle with no promblem the post above is also good advice , dont worry when he gets hungry he will that bottle. good luck ,big dave
-- david jackson (email@example.com), June 28, 2000.
Let the calf suck your finger with milk on it, that is. Keep dipping the finger in the milk, working lower and lower, closer to the milk in the bucket. This is what you'll want to come to in the long run anyway, although you may need to use the bottle first.
Note that calves' mouths aren't sterile. I'd wear a rubber glove on this one. My mother nearly lost her arm, and her life, when a break in the skin around her fingernail got infected from this. Trouble is she's allergic to penicillin, so what should have taken a quick course of antibiotics was complicated.
-- Don Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 29, 2000.
A book I recommend is Raising a Calf for Beef. It is available on the Countryside Bookshelf and can be ordered via e-mail, so you can have it in a couple of days.
-- Ken Scharabok (email@example.com), June 29, 2000.
P.S. One thing I've learned is critters do better in at least pairs. Consider buying a second calf to keep the first one company. Won't take that much extra effort to feed, etc. If your intent is to put beef in the freezer, kill one and sell the second.
-- Ken Scharabok (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 04, 2000.