Grafting a calf : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Well, like Debbie we pulled a calf on Saturday, unfortunately ours never got up. We got colostrum in him via stomach tube, but he didn't make it. I'm thinking about grafting a calf onto the cow. We tried to get ahold of our neighbors with cattle today but nobody has any orphans. There is a somewhat local dairy that I may be able to get a calf from tomorrow morning. Here's the question, do you think the cow (first calf heifer actually) will still have milk 36 hours after calving? She's an Angus x Hereford.

Also, your favorite grafting tips would be helpful if you think she'll still have milk.


-- Michelle in OK (, February 03, 2002


One technique I've heard about. If the cow got a chance to lick the calf clean (and thus acquired the scent) skin the dead calf. When you get your new one put the skin on it like a sweater, stitching edges together as necessary. Once she has accepted the calf, and it gets her milk smell, you can cut off the skin.

Only other way I know of is to restrain the cow and force her to accept the calf. May take a while and you may have to hobble her so she can't kick. Be prepared to bottle feed it yourself.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, February 03, 2002.

Milk the cow, feed this milk to the calf with a bottle, once the cow smells her "brand" of milk she will be more receptive to the calf.

-- mitch hearn (, February 03, 2002.

I've seen the 'sweater' thing done on tv, with sheep, it works so well it is widely used to get the adoptive mom to take a little one, [I think it should be kept cold or frozen so it has no smell of decay] But I haven't heard of one being saved for later use, it would be worth a try.

As far as the milk supply watch momma for any heat or tighness in the bag these show she will start to dry up, milk her out and freeze the colostrum for the new baby (defrost in body temp. water)

Most animals will accept the baby after she can smell her own milk passing from the baby (it makes to poo smell right to her) I think this takes about 3 days. Good Luck with her.

-- Thumper/inOKC (, February 03, 2002.

She'll certainly have milk. I think you could let her go as long as a week and still get her milking again. After ten days she's pretty much on her way to drying off again. As far as accepting the calf, I've never tried the "sweater" technique, but it sounds like it would work. Try and see, I guess. Maybe you can get the calf with the proviso that you can take it back if the cow won't accept it?

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, February 03, 2002.

If she will, even grudgenly take the calf, feed her a special treat while she is doing so. Will both help to distract her and set up a reward factor. I'd suggest some calf grower.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, February 04, 2002.

There's a goat farmer around here who told me he has gotten doe's to feed kids that aren't their own by spraying hair spray around the doe's nose and spraying the hair spray on the kid.He claims it works well.I've never needed to do this so I don't know the details.But he says it keeps the doe from being able to smell that the kid isn't hers.

-- SM Steve (, February 04, 2002.

I've also heard about pouring maple syrup on the back of the new calf under the theory as the cow licks off the syrup, she will pick up the scent of the calf.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, February 04, 2002.

Sorry for your loss Michelle. I have been in on tying a cow in order to get a different calf to suck. Hmmm, lets just say you should eat your Wheaties! (Unless your cow is a pet..ours was not!) It works, but it is a job and really can stress momma. I think if it were me...I would have the new calf real close to the new mom and at the last minute put a pile of Vicks on moms nose(actuall in the nostril a wee bit) and smear some on baby. It may confuse her enough to buy you some time. If she is gonna be a really good momma...she will probably feed the calf. Good luck to ya...and hang in there!

-- Sher in se Iowa (, February 04, 2002.

Thanks for your ideas. Unfortunately we have not been able to find a calf anywhwere and our next calf is not due for 2 more weeks. I turned the cow back out with the herd this morning, guess she's just going to have to dry up.

Thanks again!

-- Michelle in Ok (, February 05, 2002.

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