Feeder calves that won't drink

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14 years 9 months ago #19884 by SusanB
I picked up some really cute murray grey /jersey heifers on Saturday and have had real trouble with one. She drank on Saturday and Sunday morning, but refused completely to drink on Sunday night or Monday morning. I stomach tubed her on Monday afternoon with electrolytes. Tuesday morning she sucked very slowly but did drink a bout a litre with the other calves. Tuesday evening it was no go again, so I tubed her with milk. This morning she will still not suck, and is looking slightly dehydrated but still bright eyed and interested. She is not scouring, she is weeing and pooing (but poos are getting a bit thick due to lack of fluid), she is nibbling hay and does not have any swelling in any joints or around the navel. She does not feel abnormally hot either. I am at a bit of a loss, and really hate stomach tubing her as I am worried about doing it wrong (so far so good, but it isn't a pleasant experience for either of us). They are still in the stable as there is no way I can catch her out in the paddock if she continues to refuse to drink (until it is potentially too late that is!!) What else can I try? Please don't say get a vet as to be blunt, a feeder calf isn't worth it. If she goes too far downhill, my husband is an experienced hunter and will put her out of her misery.

12 Acres, a few horses and cattle in the western Waikato

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14 years 9 months ago #294031 by devan
Have you tried her on a bottle rather than the feeder? Maybe she just needs a bit of peace and quiet to feed without the others pushing and shoving her around

The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing,and then they marry him.

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14 years 9 months ago #294035 by beedee
nah.. leave her to it.. I had a sulky calf once and since I had others, Id take him to the feeder, and leave him the others soon gulped and slurped around and on the 3rd feed he was first to the feeder.. and never looked back..
I used to tube feed and sit there for hours with the bottle.. the more that you ignore them the faster they change their minds..
that is as long as no shiiits, sore tum or down ears..

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14 years 9 months ago #294036 by SusanB
Yes - tried a bottle as well - two different ones even, in case it was a teat problem. She must have something going on digestive wise, or maybe early onset bovine anorexia nervosa?
Also forgot to add I bought milk from the farm so I could introduce the milk powder gradually. She wouldn't even drink a bottle of real milk.

Thanks Beedee - I find it hard to walk away though. How many feeds can a calf miss?

12 Acres, a few horses and cattle in the western Waikato

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14 years 9 months ago #294042 by beedee
two days.. for you to have got her she must be 5 days old now right?? as long as she is warm and dry.. it seems hard but by jooves they come out starving.. dont force her tonight, jsut place on the teat, and if she doesnt drink just walk away.. then the same tomorrow.. and iF she isnt feeding by tomorrow eve, then you can stand over her, but the slurps of the other calves works wonders..
I now do it to most of my calves that I bring in, they get shown and then I walk away, and most if not everyone finds their place.. thats what most big farms do.. they make note and mark them and by feed three of no feeding they go into the little pen and if not drinking by the end of the session they then get held onto the teat.. jersey Xs are more likely to sulk than fresians.. tis a strange hereford that does.. and brown swiss can sulk for 5 days

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14 years 9 months ago #294057 by Jenny
I'm with Beedee. If she doesn't want to drink let her go hungry. She'll soon get the message. I'm of the opinion too much is worse than not enough at this early stage.

Jenny
Waikato

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14 years 9 months ago #294068 by RaeM
Replied by RaeM on topic Feeder calves that won't drink
If you have any sort of antibotics, give her a jab, as sometimes, they just need a bit more coverage than what the colustrum milk has been giving her. Normally that helps a lot.

RaeM

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14 years 9 months ago #294104 by witheze
a navel infection will stop them drinking?????? also www.lifestyleblock.co.nz/vforum/search.php?searchid=395451

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14 years 9 months ago #294130 by SusanB
Seriously I can't find any sign of a navel infection on this calf - just went to see my friends calf that has one, and it looks sick and has an obvious swelling. My calf drank tonight happily - we will see what happens tomorrow!

12 Acres, a few horses and cattle in the western Waikato

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14 years 9 months ago #294206 by beedee
A_N_D the verdict is a !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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14 years 9 months ago #294209 by SusanB
She didn't drink this morning again, but stood watching the others drink with a great deal of interest. Couldn't get her to suck though. She still looks healthy - clear bright eyes etc and no scouring or swellings anywhere.

12 Acres, a few horses and cattle in the western Waikato

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14 years 9 months ago #294213 by beedee
hope you didnt persevere too much, so that tonight she will be ready

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14 years 9 months ago #294238 by sod
Replied by sod on topic Feeder calves that won't drink
Have to agree with beedee when she is hungry she'll drink :):)

Having time is a measure of enthusiasm:rolleyes:

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14 years 9 months ago #294254 by SusanB
She was tucking into the Moosli and Fibrepro when i looked at them at lunch time. maybe she has decided to be weaned very early?

12 Acres, a few horses and cattle in the western Waikato

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14 years 9 months ago #294378 by SusanB
Well BeeDee you must be right - she drank last night and again this morning - slowly, but she drank! She is clearly just being a fussy prima donna. It is interesting to see the check in growth that she is displaying compared to the other gutsy calves. Even in a week she is clearly behind them! If anyone is interested I will post some photos. I think I will get them out in the paddock next week, but may put a cover on her.

12 Acres, a few horses and cattle in the western Waikato

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