Orphan calf butting me

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1 year 6 hours ago #555556 by Inquisitivebird
This is my first time raising an orphan calf, but I've quickly realised that the cute butting she does is going to be a problem. She is one week old now. I want to move her from the shed stall to a paddock each day and back at night but even if I feed her first, she runs after me the whole time I'm leading her and tries to butt me, looking for an udder. I'm afraid that as she grows she will end up hurting me. Does this behaviour stop? I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't be moving her each day. She is a lowline Angus, so not huge, but still strong.

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11 months 4 weeks ago - 11 months 4 weeks ago #555557 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Orphan calf butting me
get one of those slip-ring calf halters that firms like profarm/wrightsons/RD1/ etc are likely to have. You will have to tie a knot or two in the strap that goes over the head/neck as it will initially be too long for the calf. Use with a lead, such as a horse rope, and have an extra lead rope, long enough to go around the rump of the calf and hold both ends with your free hand. You then have both forward control (from the rump rope) and stop control (from the halter rope) this way you will teach her to lead and you can tie her up for short supervised periods with the leading halter. Walk beside her with your hip at the same level as her shoulder. She will be a much easier calf to handle as she grows up. You are right in your observation that the bunting is a feeding from the udder thing. There are some things you can do to help. Are you feeding her with a bottle or a bin with teat that you can hang on the gate? If the latter, just put the feed in her paddock with her and leave her to feed and learn, when there is no more to drink. The other question i would ask, is how much are you feeding and how often? You need to balance requirements, so she is not hungry when she finishes sucking.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S
Last edit: 11 months 4 weeks ago by Stikkibeek.

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11 months 4 weeks ago #555566 by Inquisitivebird
Thanks for the double rope method, I will definitely try this! I feed from a bottle and just follow the instructions on the bag for her age for twice a day feeds. I don't want to give her more than the recommended amount for fear of giving her bloat. I am aware that calves will over eat given the chance.

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11 months 4 weeks ago #555574 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Orphan calf butting me
How much are you feeding her? I know you mention what's on the bag, but how much is this?

Are you offering any meal/cow muesli? If not, I would suggest getting a bag and putting a small amount in your hand and lowering it to the calf to semi suckle from your fingers, then add a bit to a free-standing feeder tray or gate hung dish tray at chin height, giving her something to munch on to take away the search for the udder. I also usually have opticalf in a gate-hung dish feeder as well, for ad lib access.

I tend to stand on the other side of a gate when feeding the calves their milk unless they are new and unsure of how to latch on, although I use stallion feeders which hang on the gate. Once they have settled into a pen and it's a nice day outside, I open the outside gate and they can run out and around, and I'm not involved in there with them.

Do you have more than one calf? They do like company and are herd animals, although may pair up with another species.

Just some ideas to consider.

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11 months 4 weeks ago #555579 by Inquisitivebird
She is 12 days old. I'm currently giving her 312 g of milk powder in made up to 2.5 L twice a day. We have just bought some calf pellets but haven't offered them to her yet as we just bought them. We don't have another calf. We do have a 3 week old lamb though and they are together during the day in the paddock. We half an older calf (6 months old) and her mother who will be coming to our farm soon and then they will be company for her. Thanks for your suggestions. They are really helpful. I have already had a bit of success trying to lead her the last day. I think she will catch on. The lead takes away all urge to hunt me, but now she has to learn that she has to do what I want... Lol which will take time but I'm glad I'm doing it now because she's already very strong. I can still manage her though.

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11 months 4 weeks ago #555590 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Orphan calf butting me

She is 12 days old. I'm currently giving her 312 g of milk powder in made up to 2.5 L twice a day. We have just bought some calf pellets but haven't offered them to her yet as we just bought them. We don't have another calf. We do have a 3 week old lamb though and they are together during the day in the paddock. We half an older calf (6 months old) and her mother who will be coming to our farm soon and then they will be company for her. Thanks for your suggestions. They are really helpful. I have already had a bit of success trying to lead her the last day. I think she will catch on. The lead takes away all urge to hunt me, but now she has to learn that she has to do what I want... Lol which will take time but I'm glad I'm doing it now because she's already very strong. I can still manage her though.

If she is a bit reluctant with the pellets, I found they accept the 20% moosli (cow muesli) or Seales Winslow better, then move them up to pellets later on... 12 days old she certainly should be eating a bit of something by now. :)

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11 months 4 weeks ago #555591 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Orphan calf butting me
312 g of powder seems a bit low in about 2.25 L of water if the powder is whole milk. What are you using?
Calves are able to handle more milk per feed (relative to size) than lambs, which should be fed little and often if you are able. For a calf of 12 days, twice daily feeding should be fine.
Do not give pellets or other solids at the same time as you give milk. With ruminants the milk is digested in the abomasum, which has a valve to stop solids getting in. Solids are digested in the rumen, and that valve stops the milk getting in. Bad digestive problems can happen if milk gets into the rumen, and if solids get into the abomasum.

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