This is Mazy our Jersey calf. She is a little over 4 weeks now and I feed her plain replacer. My question is I fill the cup that is in the replacer bag to the top line=10 ounces of dry milk, then I pour it in her bottle to make it equal 4 pints. I do this once in the a.m. and 2 pints in the afternoon and again 4 pints in the p.m..I also let her graze and have some calf starter grain, salt and mineral lick and hay. This morning she sucked it down within seconds and started to buck me when it was gone, she mooed for more? Should I start to increase her milk replacer. This is our first calf and all the help would be appreciated..Thanks in advance
Last Edit: Apr 16, 2011 17:45:16 GMT -5 by barnydhppy
You will get varied responses on here, but my recommendation would be to feed more. At least a half gallon per feeding. I feed 2 gallons a day trying to match what my calf would be drinking if her mother was alive. My calf is a larger breed, but I am NOT killing her with kindness, by feeding her that amount, I am growing my future milk cow.,
As for the sucking and butting, a bottle calf will always want more because nursing from the bottle doesn't satisfy the sucking reflex like nursing from a cow does. That is why many become self suckers and ruin their udder. But that aside, if she is drinking that fast you need a different nipple with a smaller hole, and to save your arms, belly etc, get a bottle hanger to go with that bottle so you can hang it on the fence or stall. Temperature is important too for proper digestion, make sure your replacer is fully dissolved and mixed before feeding. I mix mine in a 4 cup measuring cup with hot water, whisk until the fats (some which have a high melting point) are incorporated and then cool to 100F or so with cold water.
Loose minerals may be better too, they will give up licking a hard block before they get the minerals they need.
And with any free advice take this with a grain of salt, everyone has an opinion on something like feeding calves.
Thanks so much for the info..I will get her some loose minerals..I will increase her feeding in late afternoon to 2 extra pints which is equal to about a 1/4 gallon.The total of intake will be 1 1/2 gallons, she is about 85 pds If I notice any scours I will cut back to 3 a day. The hole in the nipple is small and she really has to suck to get it out. I didnt want her to get to much to fast and take a chance of her getting sick. Just wondering if the way I measure her dry milk was right? Thanks again
There should be instructions on the bag of milk replacer that tell you how many scoops to use. I think mine usually has me using 2 of the provided scoops for 1 4 pint bottle. If you don't have the instructions with the replacer, maybe if you can tell us what brand it is, someone here may know how many scoops to use. At 4 weeks, bumping her up to 1 1/2 gallons a day is probably good, but could just start by adding a pint every few days to her existing amounts twice a day rather than adding extra feedings until you get her up to where you want her, unless you enjoy doing it 3x/day! As long as you don't add it all at once, she should be fine. HTH! Stephanie
Post by lunabelle on Sept 25, 2010 10:33:27 GMT -5
Thanks Stephanie!! I am just about to give her a small feeding now, I also just gave her probios plus. I am feeding her Snowflakes milk replacer, no instructions. I dont mind the extra feeding, I am home and enjoy spending time with them I am just worried about her getting scours by feeding to much!! I knmow if she does I will have to cut back. I hope you feed yours snowflakes..If not I would love to know if someone does. Thanks again
Post by AnnB (NE) on Sept 25, 2010 11:54:08 GMT -5
Milk replacer is NOT the same as real milk -- you really should never feed more than a gallon a day, except in really, really cold weather. ONE of the included cups to 2 quarts of water is standard for calf milk replacers.
Check the label for ingredients -- you want an all-milk replacer, not one with soy, young calves can't digest soy.
Milk replacers are NOT meant to be fed for the extended time that beef calves stay on a cow/real milk. They're meant to keep the calf going until they're eating enough grain to sustain themselves.
If you feel bad about her acting like she's still starving after her bottle (she's not, it's just her suck reflex), you can give her a bottle of water. Or, use that suck reflex to get her to eat more of her calf starter -- that's what I do, and they go on starter much faster and easier that way.
Don't increase the size of the hole at the tip of nipple (that can choke a calf), but you CAN increase the size of the air vent to keep the bottle from "vapor locking" or collapsing.
Also remember that if she does scour from too much milk replacer -- it's not nearly as easy to get things under control as it is with real milk. Cutting back and giving probiotics may not be enough, and the calf will likely need meds to get rid of the "nasties" that tend to grow in a calf getting too much milk replacer.
Oh, and don't allow her to butt you, it will set you up for behavior problems later. If she were to butt a cow too hard, she'd get clocked right on top of the head. There is nothing wrong with bobbing her on top of the head to show her that butting is NOT acceptable behavior.
Post by lunabelle on Sept 25, 2010 12:16:46 GMT -5
Ann the milk replacer I use is all milk. I will take your advice on not allowing her to butt me. She can be very pushy We live in Mass. I will look around to see if someone is willing to spare some extra milk. Thanks for that idea. Do I need to warm it up to about the same temp? Thanks
ALWAYS warm up milk (replacer or real) to about 100* (F). If its too cold, it can cause digestion issues. Too hot, well, it'll obviously burn their tongue/throat (just like hot cocoa or coffee drank to fast!) Janene
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Congrats on a new calf! Glad you are feeding her several times a day and increasing the amount she is getting. Like Throwback mentions, the milk should be about 100 F for her to be able to use it properly. If the milk is the wrong temperature, it will go in the wrong stomach and she won't assimilating it properly. A different nipple would help slow her down too. Since she is your future milk cow, her nutrition now will go a long way towards helping her thrive as a mother and provide your family with nutrient dense milk.
Like kng6876 mentions, she would grow beautifully with real milk if you could find it. It may be cost effective if you have a friend with extra milk. A friend of mine lost her cow this spring and is feeding real milk milk replacer. The cost of feeding a calf raw milk at $10 a gallon was too much.
As far as the grain issue goes, I don't think calves were designed to consume grain. They thrive on milk and grass and good quality hay. Some of the all dairy breeds may need some grain as adults, but definitely not as calves. Some of the crosses people on this board are breeding are fairing much better on a grass based diet. The jersey/normande crosses in the photo section are beautiful!
Best wishes with your calf!
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Post by jerseylovinliz on Sept 25, 2010 23:31:22 GMT -5
The milk replacer isn't designed to replace mommas milk. It's designed to give them the nutrition they need to survive. If there isn't instructions on the bag I'd see if they have a website that directs you as to how much milk per day a calf of her size & weight should be getting. Before I got my cows I raised a couple bottle calves on replacer. I would give them a pint of warm water occasionally to kind-of help with the sucking reflex but not overfeed them. When a human baby is crying it doesn't necessarily need to be fed sometimes they just want to suck. You wouldn't keep feeding a baby b/c it was fussing & crying. You'd probably switch to a pacifier or something (I'm not pushing pacifier use just trying to come up w/an analogy that will hopefully make sense lol).
The amount she's on SOUNDS like what I remember the packaging from the brand I used saying. Raw milk does make a phenomenal difference in the way the calves grow but I personally couldn't/can't afford $8-10 a gal while using 1-2 gal a day for a calf. I am not real pushy with the grain on my babies but Ann's babies always put on weight faster than mine & grow faster than mine. I've got some 3-4 month old calves that look like her 4-6 wk old calves lol! I'm glad you have her on the kind that's not soy based, I personally am not a fan of that.
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from any direction.
I hate to sound like I'm beating a dead horse, but there are distinctions that have to be understood to be successful at raising bottle calves into healthy adults. So I have picked 2 statements that show a definite lack of understanding of the differences between real milk and milk replacer.
A friend of mine lost her cow this spring and is feeding real milk milk replacer
There is no such thing as "real milk" milk replacer. There is "all milk" milk replacer, but it doesn't come close to approaching "real milk". "Real milk" is milk straight from the cow. "All milk" milk replacer is made with milk protein, with no soy added, and is whey-based -- it's a by-product and does NOT supply all the nutrients contained in real milk.
(calves) thrive on milk and grass and good quality hay. Some of the all dairy breeds may need some grain as adults, but definitely not as calves.
That statement would be true if we were talking about dam-raised calves, or calves being increasing amount of real milk.
Real milk is Nature's perfect food, the best milk replacer made is a poor substitute. There is no way that anything powdered in a bag can be compared to real milk from a cow. Calves raised on any type of milk replacer NEED grain/calf starter to grow up healthy.
Calves raised on milk replacer with no grain, then weaned onto hay/pasture are almost always sorry looking little critters with potbellies and thin toplines that rarely reach their full potential.
Ideally, all calves would be able to have real milk, but when they can't you CANNOT feed milk replacer in the same manner as real milk -- they are NOT interchangeable.
Good nutrition when young is the basis for a healthy adult cow, and when feeding milk replacer "good nutrition" means grain/calf starter from an early age.
Ann B who has raised more bottle calves than I can count on both real milk and milk replacer, and who's milk replacer calves look just as good, and bring just as much at the salebarn, as dam-raised calves.
Lunabelle, maybe you can check with the store where you bought the milk replacer to see how many scoops you are supposed to be using per bottle, it's possible they might know, or know where you could get that information. It's pretty important since milk replacer does vary by brand. Hope she grows well for you Stephanie
Post by lunabelle on Sept 26, 2010 19:58:08 GMT -5
Thanks Stephanie I did Ann I am so grateful to have found you and this site..I have cut Mazy's feedings to a.m. and p.m. only, giving loose minerals, and of course calf starter and she grazes. I noticed that right after I give her the bottle she acts "starving", so I found if I Give her the bucket w some cafe starter in it, she eats it I also gave her another dose of probios plus. Hoping for a GOOD poop in the a.m. Funny how I get so excited from Cows poop Thanks again to all of you for sharing your experience with me and Mazy
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