1. BYH Picture of the Week (POW) - Submit your Pics Now !!
    Click HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

  2. Official Poll: What Herd Animals Do You Own?
    (if you are logged in, this announcement can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

Is my calf too skinny?

Discussion in 'Birthing, Weaning, and Raising Calves' started by cchardwick, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. Aug 3, 2013
    cchardwick

    cchardwick Exploring the pasture

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    12
    I just picked up my very first cow two days ago, it's a four week old Holstein heifer, she is going to be our family milk cow! After I picked her up, brought her home, and did a little research I'm finding that she seems to be very skinny. Right now she is on 2 quarts of NurseAll formula twice a day. She is taking the bottle very well and always moos for more. I bought some plain Greek yogurt at the supermarket to mix in with her milk, hopefully it will give her a little extra boost. Her stool is brown and firm, seems normal. Yesterday she had a small dry cough but it has since pretty much gone away. I've been working with the lead and handling her quite a bit. She is only nibbling on grain, so far I've tried Show Calf Food, Sweet Mix, and Stock and Stable Sweet Feed. Does she look too skinny to you? Any suggestions for my first ever cow? I'm a very nervous cow dad LOL.

    Since I'm new I can't post photos, strange...?

    To view these photos go here:

    hardwickhatchery.com/calf-7.jpg

    hardwickhatchery.com/calf-2.jpg

    hardwickhatchery.com/calf-1.jpg
  2. Aug 3, 2013
    secuono

    secuono Loving the herd life

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,748
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    122
    I'm no cow expert, but that'd be way too thin for my liking.

    [​IMG]
  3. Aug 3, 2013
    cchardwick

    cchardwick Exploring the pasture

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    12
    Well today was a great day with my cow (how many people can say that!). I sent the photos that I posted to a local vet and she said that the calf was 'a bit on the thin side' but that I didn't have to bring it in unless it was showing signs of being sick. So I took that as a good sign. I also went to the feed store and bought two different kinds of feed, a three way sweet feed and another sweet 14% feed that was recommended by one of the employees for young calves. I mixed the two with my calf starter and my calf really started eating this grain mix! I also mixed in a little yogurt into this last milk feeding. I used three heaping tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt, it was probably more like eight real tablespoons. After she drank that she really perked up and even started nibbling on the grass hay! She even ate a bit of straw, although I've read that at this age they shouldn't eat any hay at all, but she was running in there with my llamas at the time.

    I've also been playing games with her. I'll fill up her milk bottle and then hide it somewhere on the property behind a tree, on a rock, in the trailer, etc. Then I'll put the halter on her and lead her to the bottle. She is getting to the point where she really likes me to halter her and walk her and she follows me really well because I lead her to the bottle every time. I've also been taking her for little walks around the property and she just loves it (I'm also teaching her manners like no pushing!). I make sure I stop and pet her all over so she gets used to me touching her, this will be essential when I milk her. A couple times I lead her where she didn't want to go, like in her pen, and it was a tug of war. Luckily I can win since she is probably less than a hundred pounds. Now she knows I can win and she gives in when I pull on her. Every now and then she starts running and jumping! I was with her most of the day and I only saw her cough twice. I also put a heat lamp in her shelter so she can have some warmth at night and room to get away if she needs, especially since it gets down in the mid 40s at night. I also gave her a bath today on her legs and rear end, they were really caked up with manure. She smells much better now LOL. She was really trying to kick when I first picked up her feet to clean them, now she easily gives in since she knows what I'm trying to do.

    I really think she is over the worst and on the road to good health!
  4. Aug 3, 2013
    woodsie

    woodsie Loving the herd life

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2012
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    86
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Location:
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    I took a look at your pictures and I think she is very skinny, sorry :hide...I'm a newbie too but I have a 6 week old holstein bull calf and he is huge and full, I can't see any ribs and certainly not the spine. He's on a nanny jersey cow mind you so he is going to be much bigger than a bottle baby. Maybe someone that has a bottle calf can be more help...the dairy I bought them from thought he was growing super quickly compared to their bottle babies, if memory serves me right I think she said they fed the calves 6 litres/day, not sure at what age but he was only a week old when I got him.

    I have heard calf manna can help...I'm not certain of does for formula but I am guessing my calf is eating about 2 gallons of milk a day + at 1 month. You could tell which quarter's he dad nursed on and which ones he left untouched and I was getting about a gallon twice a day from the 2 quarters he didn't drink and the ones he did drink were dry or nearly dry...I hope that made sense. Good luck in getting the girl bulked up, she's a real cutie pie!
  5. Aug 4, 2013
    Cricket

    Cricket Ridin' The Range

    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    Messages:
    659
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Location:
    Vermont
    I wouldn't switch around with different feeds at this point--I'd give her calf starter and that's it. If you decide to go up on her milk, just go up a VERY little at a time, like 8 oz mixed up and see how she does over 3 days with that. Good poop in a dairy calf is a thing of beauty :lol:. She is a little on the skinny side, but you are so far ahead of the game if she's like that and not scouring.

    Glad you are enjoying her so much--they are great critters to have around!

    edited to add: Woodsie, :ep! Cows apparently know how to do it better than we humans, eh?
  6. Aug 4, 2013
    cchardwick

    cchardwick Exploring the pasture

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    12
    Actually I looked around at every feed store in Colorado and no one stocks the calf starter, which I find is very strange since this is cattle country. All I had was a show calf feed and she didn't really eat that very well, I think because she was used to more of a grain consistency and the show calf feed is a pellet. I ordered a bag of calf starter but that won't come in until Tuesday and I didn't want her not to eat any grain until then. I was especially worried since she is soooo skinny. At this point I'm trying everything to try to get some more food in her. I've read horror stories about people trying to give more liquids (scours) so I guess I'm pretty much stuck with trying different grains. Yesterday I knew she wanted something different when she didn't want the calf food but decided to really chow down my chicken feed! That's when I ran to the feed store for something different and so far it seems to be working.

    I'm actually amazed at how fast a learner my calf is. It only took me one day and she already knows how to back up on command. I think four weeks is a perfect age to really get some solid training in them since they are mature enough to understand what you want and are small enough that you can push them around without getting hurt.
  7. Aug 4, 2013
    woodsie

    woodsie Loving the herd life

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2012
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    86
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Location:
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Way to go on the training, I wish I would have gotten a halter on my boy earlier, he runs around like a racehorse and I am amazed at how fast he is, and I definitely couldn't stop him as I am sure he WAY out weighs me. I hope to get a heifer out of my Bella and then raise it the same way you are...please keep us informed of your journey.

    I agree that if you don't have scouring you're doing a good job....slow changes. Can you get calf manna? It is supposed to help supplement all sort of animals (goats, rabbits, etc) when they need some extra nutrients and calories and they don't need tons so you get lots of extra calories and nutrients in a small volume which might help bulk her up.
  8. Aug 4, 2013
    cchardwick

    cchardwick Exploring the pasture

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    12
    This reminded me of you, I was walking my calf today and she decided to bolt and just take off full speed. I had her on a ten foot lead and when she hit the end she turned sideways and fell over, it cracked me up LOL! She laid there for a minute thinking about what had just happened. After she got up I decided from then on to keep her on a short lead and to not let her run, not even a little unless she was lagging behind me. She fell right in line and didn't even try to run after that.
  9. Aug 5, 2013
    jhm47

    jhm47 Loving the herd life

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,228
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    Extreme NE South Dakota
    That ain't a "cow". It's a calf. Won't be a "cow" till she calves. I'd give her a good quality calf starter and the best quality hay you can find.
  10. Aug 5, 2013
    cchardwick

    cchardwick Exploring the pasture

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    12
    At what age do you start them on hay? My vet said that it's too early and that I should stick with milk and grain only. Actually the lady that I got her from was feeding pretty low quality hay, maybe that's why she is so skinny.

Share This Page