Any cow people out there ? I have cow questions ....

Discussion in 'The Chatter Box' started by MiddleRiver, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. MiddleRiver

    MiddleRiver New Member

    155
    Oct 29, 2007
    Northwest WI
    Ok, so hubby and i are going to pick up 3 heifer calves in mid-late Feb. they will be bottle calves ( raised on my goats milk, but possibly 3/4 goat milk and 1/4 replacer if we get more then 3 or have less milk then expected ), they will also most likely be holsteins.

    We raised two ayrshire steers last year, but still have a lot to learn, and want to make sure we do it right.

    Ok, with the goats milk, i heard to water down to half and half or 1/4 water to 3/4 milk - should i ? Or should i feed it straight ? If replacer must be used mixed with milk, will this work, and any reccomended brands or feeding tips ?

    The people we will get them from sound great, but i'm not sure what to look for/ask about them about their herd and the calves when we go down there to pick them out and bring them home. Any suggestions ? What should i ask ? What should i look for in both their herd and picking out the calves ?

    I've got my goat and horse supplies, but what should we have on hand for the calves ? What antibiotics work for baby cows ? Any other cow must haves ? When and with what should we worm them ?

    Ok, so once we get them home, whats the best way to feed them ? 2 times a day is what we can do. How much at each feeding and at what times do we increase ? When do we offer solids and what should we offer ?

    Well, thats it for now :+) We really fell in love with cows last year, and if we get heifers in spring and sell them in fall we can play with them and enjoy them without having to eat them :+) Plus, this is a great way to get DH involved with the goats more, and to really appreiate them - hehe

    Thanks !
     
  2. mystic's_mom

    mystic's_mom New Member

    265
    Oct 5, 2007
    Northern, MN
    You don't have to mix the goat's milk half and half. If you mix it with replacer, then mix it half and half (half goatie, half replacer).

    For antibiotics you really don't need much more for a calf then you already might have on hand for the goats and horses; penicillin, oxytet, etc...whatever you use for your horses and goats you can use for your calf.

    Depending on how young the calves are, you should be fine with 2 times a day...give them each a gallon bucket, and let them drink as much as they will. Offer hay, water, and calf feed as soon as you get them; they will begin to nibble as early as goaties do.

    With worming, you can worm them on the same schedule you do the rest of your herd; Worm them for the first time at about 8 weeks; you can use the same wormers here too, as you do your goats and horses.
     

  3. ozarksvalley

    ozarksvalley New Member

    180
    Nov 22, 2007
    Missouri
    You need to have FastTrack on hand! It works miracles for a sick calf or a calf slightly off feed.

    The best wormer I have ever used has been Fir Meadows Herbal wormer. (Yes, I have seen MUCH MUCH better results from herbal than chemicals. I used to use chemicals until my mom practically begged me to try herbal- of which I was highly skeptic. I will NEVER go back to chemical now!) Fir Meadows make a wormer safe for almost all animals- including cattle. I use this on my Holstien steer- even in the dead of winter he looks like show stock, he is so healthy and sleek and shiny.
    Website is here:
    http://firmeadowherbs.tripod.com/

    In picking out the calves- look them over as best you can. Is it's naval swollen? How about the knees? Don't buy a calf with those problems. Is she noisy, appear anxious to be fed if it is feeding time and she is over 1 week old? Usually the noisy ones are the healthiest!

    Also a big tip- give them LOTS of bedding. Change it often. Let them be up to their knees it or deeper. I know from past experience and any successful dairy farmer that has the fewest deaths will tell you it is important. I can also not stress enough- do not let the nipples on the bottles wear out! Watch the calf suck- is LOTS of foam coming out of her mouth? If not, it's time for a new nipple. They need to work on getting it out- if they don't the milk leaks into the wrong stomach and makes them sick or not as healthy.

    And no matter what a medical book will tell you- don't dehydrate a calf if they get the scours. This is the time they need water and FastTrack. My step grandmother would not listen and went with a dumb book- the poor calf died of dehydration in 90 degree weather!

    As to how much to feed them, it depends on their size. You know they have gotten enough when on the hip you will see a triangular depression, when they are hunger it is depressed, and when they are full it bulges slightly. As they get older and larger, slowly increase their servings and watch those triangular depressions. If you would like, I can find a calf or cow pic and circle the area.

    If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to ask. I love talking about cattle and in particular, calf rearing. :) My dad and I used to milk 176 cows by ourselves. (that's not including dry cows) I helped him milk and took care of the calves. We rarely lost a calf.
     
  4. MiddleRiver

    MiddleRiver New Member

    155
    Oct 29, 2007
    Northwest WI
    Thanks you guys ! I'm very excited to get these girls, we totally fell for cows.

    ozarksvalley - you can bet i'll be bugging you with more questions throughout this, hehe, you offered :+)
     
  5. ozarksvalley

    ozarksvalley New Member

    180
    Nov 22, 2007
    Missouri
    I'm sure you'll do great with your calves and have lots of fun with them! :-D

    I don't mind the questions! :D If I don't know the answer myself, I have a really good Dairy Farmers vetrinary book written in England (they are SO far ahead of us in health- both animal and human!) that will most likely have an answer. It's by R. W. Blowey, you might try looking it up. If I recall right, it was in the $80 range, but I could be wrong. It has definatly helped me alot!

    Good luck with your heifers!