Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How often should I bottle feed a calf

It has been a tied and true fact that calves respond to bottle feeding best when fed twice a day. It is optimal if the calf can be bottle fed every twelve hours. I prefer bottle feeding a calf at 7 am and then at 7 pm but when the clock hands show 6 works good also.

Due to busy schedules, it is not always practical or possible for bottle feeding a calf every twelve hours apart. Most calf raisers can find time in the morning when they start their day and then only have time at the end of the day. This might put bottle feeding the calf at 6 am and then again at 8 pm or even earlier such as 5 pm.



This timing of bottle feeding a calf will work fine as well. The most important key to how often for bottle feeding a calf is: To keep the feeding schedule time the same every day. You can have a few nights or morning an hour or so off schedule, but you want to maintain the same time as best as possible.

You really want the timing of bottle feeding your calf to become a daily routine at the same time every day. This is something you want to give some thought. Your everyday routine may change for some reason like being off work on weekends. You want to pick a time schedule you can live with every day of the week.

The reason why bottle feeding a calf in this same routine day after day is so important is it allows the calf to know when bottle feeding is. The calf will have water, feed, and hay to eat and drink free choice all the time. Meaning it will decide on it’s own when to eat feed or hay and when drink water.
Bottle feeding a calf doesn’t work well if the calf is already full from eating something else. The calf will know and prefer milk replacer feeding. A good strong health calf will run you over to get to a milk bottle punch and be ready to suck. They really enjoy milk.

By keeping the time of bottle feeding the calf the same, the calf will learn or adjust it’s other eating habits for these schedule.  The calf will know what it needs for intake and know not to fill up on other feed sources before bottle times.

If your are off schedule form time to time that is Ok. It is better to be late with bottle feeding your calf then to be early. Sometime if you show up a hour early the calf may still be fill and not want a bottle feeding. Running behind or late for a bottle feeding you have less of a chance the calf being fill. The calf might do some light grazing but knows to room for the milk replacer bottle.

13 comments:

  1. When do I start feeding calf feed?and do I feed water with a bottle to the calf?

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  2. I never feed water from a bottle but do have some out at all times. They will drink when they need it. Feed I start putting calf starter out right away and by the time they are six weeks old they are eating it well.

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  3. I HAVE NEVER BOTLE FED CALVE. HOW OLD DO THEY HAVE TO BE? AND WHEN DO YOU STOP BOTTLE FEEDING THEM?

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  4. You start bottle feeding right away and stop no sooner than 2 months old. Most feed until 3 months old.

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  5. We have a baby calf that we have to bottle feed,its still with the mother but can't get it nurse mother so we're milking the cow and giving milk to calf. How much milk should the calf be eating? The calf is 5days old.

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  6. 2 quarts (4 pints) twice a day. The cow may be producing more but that doesn't matter. She might be making a little less and that would be ok also.

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  7. how soon do you feed a week old calf grain

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  8. Calf Starter feed grain can be started at 2 days old. Now these grains are different than your creep or cattle feeds. They are easily handled buy calves under 30 days old and mineral balanced to be fed along with milk replacers. Just place some out and allow them to find it when they are ready.

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  9. I have 2 calves only young ones, i am feeding them but they just seem very quiet. no bad bowel movements, no runny stools, no breathlessness that i can see, but they just seem to be quiet and not running around

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    1. Not that unusual for a few week old calves I wouldn't be to concerned as long as they were eating well.

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    2. I have a 3 day old calf that will not drink from a bottle, so I am tube feeding her. How long do I have to do this? I am worried about hurting her every time I put the tube down her throat.

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  10. I have a 3 day old calf that seemed to be abandoned by it's mother. She seems to have an injured back right leg, possibly the hip. The day she was born, she was bouncing around. Then she was found hiding in some thick grass along the fence, far away from the other cows. There are no other calves in the field. She will not drink from a bottle, so I am tube feeding her. How long do I have to do this? I am worried about hurting her every time I put the tube down her throat. Please give me some advice ASAP.

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  11. I have a 2 day old calf that I am feeding 2 quarts a day, but I am breaking it up into 4 feedings is this a problem for her?

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