Supplemental Feeding a Bottle Calf

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Feeding a bottle calf with milk replacer is expensive. I cannot provide calf grower since the calf is running with the herd and I doubt the cows would let it have any. I just go find it twice a day.

In an earlier thread I mentioned I was including expired baby food in the the milk replacer for my bottle calf. Since I also have some soup cans too badly dented to sell, she has been getting the contents of one of those also per feeding, with the amount of milk replacer reduced accordingly. I ran into my large animal vet and asked him about the practice. He said as long as it didn't cause the calf to have excessively loose bowels, he didn't see a problem with it as long as the overall protein content remained in the 20% area.

(I haven't tried soaking calf grower and adding it to the milk replacer, but may just try it.)

Basically a calf can eat just about anything a human can if pureed to the point it will pass through the nipple opening with the milk replacer. For example, you have excess tomatoes, puree a couple and add to the milk replacer. Same for most other vegetables, although some may have to be cooked and mashed first. Excess dried beans could be soaked and cooked slightly, or just pureed. Rice and crumpled pasta are also options.

In the current issue of Countryside and Small Stock Journal, there is an article on raising the homestead hog in which the author fed it on reject yugurt from a nearly plant. That would be near ideal for a calf also.

Be creative in cutting down the milk replacer bill.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), April 26, 2002

Answers

Hey Ken.......good to hear from you. I got so creative that I don't buy replacer at all. It is called get a goat ;>) .

-- diane (gardiacaprines@yahoo.com), April 26, 2002.

I've got 2 I'm bottle feeding. One was so sick & it's mom was so wild, they never got hooked up. Too late now. The other is exptremely tall, and it just will not drink from it's very caring mom. Fought with them for 45 minutes to get the first milk, now the cow hates me, the calf is too dumb to put it's head down. Never had _that_ before. Had a few that needed help getting started, but not too dumb to figure it out ever.

--->Paul

-- paul (ramblerplm@hotmail.com), April 26, 2002.


KEN I AM IN NORTHWEST TENNESSEE AND I WAS WONDERING IF YOU KNOW OF ANYWHERE THAT I CAN FIND A BOTTLE CALF. MY WIFE WAS WANTING TO RAISE ONE BUT AROUND HERE THERE ARE NONE. YOU MIGHT FIND ONE ONCE AND A WHILE AT A SALE BUT EVERYONE TELLS ME THAT THEY CAN GET TETANUS AND DIE FROM A SALE BARN. I WOULD APPRECIATE IT VERY MUCH IF YOU COULD TELL ME WHERE I COULD FIND ONE OR TWO CALVES. THANKS VERY MUCH BRAD

-- Brad H. (FIRE_RESCUE126@HOTMAIL.COM), April 26, 2002.

Brad:

I have had excellent luck with buying sales barn bottle calves. However, I don't just buy whatever comes into the ring. Insist on being allowed into the calf pen to inspect them up close. Any calf which is not alert and clear-eyed, has a fair bit of nostril discharge, has yellow or white scours, is not readily approachable and will not enthusiastically suck on a finger should be avoided. While it sucks on a finger, note how warm its mouth is. A cold mouth indicates the calf's internal termperature is lower than normal. Iím also told two good signs are if the calf stretches after rising and the tail hangs normally, rather than being tucked between the back legs.

The calves may or may not have received colostrum. Occasionally when old cows come in with calves, more money can be made by splitting them for separate sale.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), April 27, 2002.


Update: I put a cup full of deer pellets in each bottle, added a bit of milk replacer and warm water. By the time I got to the calf the pellets had dissolved. Calf seemed to love it. The molasses in the pellets made it smell a bit like chocolate milk.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), April 28, 2002.


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