Our mid sized Dexter had a stillborn calf a week ago. We have a male Jersey that a milk farmer had (one day old) and are trying to get our Dexter to accept it. It almost died this afternoon, but we started with warm towels microwaved and wrapped in plastic- stayed near by stroking it for several hours and got it to take a bottle (small amounts a couple times).
Two questions? What is the best position to feed a newborn calf in. Oh, it did get up and walk after it got warm and rested.
How can we try to get our mother to accept her. She first started licking it, then got upset, and then booted it across the barn earlier today. Now, the mother is very "afraid" to come in the barn.
Any tips would be appreciated. I read the sick calf section.
We have only had cows for 8 months and never had a farm growingup.
When bottlefeeding you want the calf in a natural nursing position- neck out and head lower than the spine- so the milk goes into the proper stomach.
When fostering on a calf I put the cow in the stanchion 2-3 times a day and let the calf nurse for 5-10 minutes (depending on how well its nursing). I stand there and make sure the cow doesn't kick the calf and that it says latched on. After a few days of this I start letting the calf nurse with the cow on a halter or when she's eating her grain. Once the cow starts to let the calf nurse without trying to toss it across the barn or kicking it I leave them together during the day and separate overnight so I can get milk in the morning.
I'd also set things up so the cow can come over and smell the calf, lick it, etc. without being able to physically hurt it. Ideally I would have the calf in a stall with a gate they can see each other through and touch noses, etc. Or pen in adjacent pens separated by a cattle panel.
Once the cow accepts the calf- licks it, moos to it, etc. you should be home free, but I'd give her a week or two.
One of the easiest ways we found to get a calf to suck at the right angle was to (if the calf has a good suck and latches right on...) place the bottle at knee level, with the nipple right at about knee level to begin with and then lower it a bit to equate it with where the udder would be at if that calf were sucking the cow.
You might find some resistance from the calf as it might be a new angle ....so be patient and keep repeating the 'new' way of nursing for it.
Last Edit: Feb 6, 2010 11:18:03 GMT -5 by barnydhppy
Baby Jersey was up for 10 minutes wandering! His face had formula on it, so some of our cows were licking him. He heard our mother HIghland do the low soft Moo and tried to Moo back. Unfortunately the mother we want to take him "under her udder" is very nervous. I hope her milk does not dry up.
He wandered right into the group who are all curiously standing outside the barn, looking in, wondering what is going on. He started trying to nurse on our 8 months old male dexter/belted galloway mix and our highland male 2 years old. He almost got the boot from the Highland!
When the little Jersey came back in the barn, he was very eager to nurse from the bottle and got the most yet. The head angle issue is tricky.
I think there was some real progress this morning. I was down there for 3 hours.
He got chilled, so he is wrapped in the warmed beach towels resting. He is much stronger than yesterday. I have a large metal rack that I blocked him in a corner with and put some bails of straw around to keep him from wandering out.
Make sure your bottles are 102 degrees when you are feeding him. It's tricky to get them out of the house and into the barn without chilling. If they are 97 or 98 degrees when he's eating, they will give him a chill this young. After a couple weeks, when he is able to maintain his temperature better on his own, then "warm" is good enough, and you don't need to be so careful about the temp.
I lock the momma up overnight so that she's lonely, and good and full. It's better if she can be somewhere she can see, touch, but not hurt the calf. Then in the morning, put her in the stanchion and hobble her, and supervise the nursing. I do this for a couple days until she's no longer kicking the calf, then keep them together.
Tig - 3/4 Jersey 1/4 Dexter 11 yr
Lucy (aka "Lucifer") Guernsey 10 yr
Pepper-Angus/Dexter/Jersey 6 yr
Mocha (aka Crazy Cow) 5 yr
Eva Holstein 5 yr
Maggie - HoJo 4 yr
Chloe - Jersey/Dexter 4 yr
Brie - Jersey - 3 yr
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