Rumen development in calves

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10 years 7 months ago #469043 by hilldweller
I think part of the answer to that is 'how long do you intend feeding milk?'. If you were a cow, you'd be planning on several more months, their daily milk intake would still be increasing at this age and their rumens would be developing at a 'natural' rate which is slower than you may want.

Sounds like you're doing a great job with them so far.

hilldweller

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10 years 7 months ago #469096 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Rumen development in calves

carlyjean;471486 wrote: Thanks all- she is currently on 2 feeds of 3 L a day. I am happy to continue this as long as she needs. There is no economic drive for her - I just want a happy healthy calf! So I will keep her on the milk.

Thanks cowvet regarding the cocci - it's good to know its not a major concern.

Only issue is that I bought 2 bags of feed for her that she's not too interested in! I tried putting in her mouth after her bottle but she just spat it out- will keep trying however! I'm sure she will get the picture when she's ready. I feed my other calf twice a day same as my horses (chaff, rolled grains and a seaweed/garlic/linseed supplement) and she comes running and bucking as soon as I whistle from across the valley- I'm sure her feeds are the highlights of her day!!


Carly, I rear calves in all sorts of different ways depending on how much milk I want for me and pigs, my state of health at any given time and pretty much what I feel like doing. There is no doubt that calves reared on a cow, either by sharemilking or 100% cow reared, do much better but that is not what your asking so it's irrelevent.

Don't force your calf to eat meal, she will eat it when she is good and ready. Put the meal away for the time being and invest in a bag of Moozlee. Find a bright coloured container - yellow, blue or red - and when she's finished her milk, put a handful of Moozlee in the container next to her. She will look at it as though it might bite, when it doesn't she'll sniff it, when it still doesn't bite she'll investigate it further untill she gets to what is inside it. Then she'll stand in it and tip the whole lot over[^]. Within a couple of days she will have worked out that this sweet, sticky stuff is pretty good. Once you've got her going on that, you can start to mix the meal in with it.

Ruth, be honest, it was me that said that your calf could have been weaned - and he could have been. Honey's calf was 12 weeks old when she died and I debated on whether to wean him or feed him. He was a solid calf and could have been happily weaned but because he had been calfateria fed for the first two days of his life and because I had milk anyway, I elected to put him on the calfateria. He remembered what a calfateria was and it was no drama but I doubt that it made much difference under the circumstances. He was already eating grass, hay and calf meal and the udder was a habit rather than a necessity. At 16 weeks he has now weaned himself which begs the question somewhat.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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10 years 7 months ago #469103 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Rumen development in calves

Ronney;471556 wrote: ...Ruth, be honest, it was me that said that your calf could have been weaned - and he could have been. Honey's calf was 12 weeks old when she died and I debated on whether to wean him or feed him. He was a solid calf and could have been happily weaned but because he had been calfateria fed for the first two days of his life and because I had milk anyway, I elected to put him on the calfateria. He remembered what a calfateria was and it was no drama but I doubt that it made much difference under the circumstances. He was already eating grass, hay and calf meal and the udder was a habit rather than a necessity. At 16 weeks he has now weaned himself which begs the question somewhat.

Oh Ronnie. You're not the only person I talk to.

He could have been weaned, but if that had happened he would have been an inferior animal in his group for sale last season. One of the best reasons for having a house cow with a beef breeding herd is the availability of milk when it's needed. Why shouldn't I feed a calf to six months? That's what would have happened had his mother not died and I preferred to give him the best possible start.

Edit: Ronnie, next time I'll name you - but only if I can remember you said it. My "someone" in the above post was a generic term, since there were similar comments outside this forum.

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10 years 7 months ago #469104 by Mickee
Replied by Mickee on topic Rumen development in calves
Like Ronnie said, I too put a bit of meal in my hand and they suck/chew that after finishing their milk, it's a perseverance thing, some take to it quickly, others seem to play with it, but they all get the idea eventually. I also sprinkle sodium bentonite (Trubond - a very fine clay product - get it from CRT) over the meal to help get them started initially, they like to lick it and it also helps to slow the gut motility and can help a bit with nutritional scours.

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