Can my bottle calf have supplemental water?

Blue Sky

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Hot hot hot. Calf has 5 gallon bucket with missing water but I haven’t seen her drink. Is it ok to give her water from her bottle throughout the day or assume she’s drinking? She looks fine. She’s 2 weeks old can I start lead/halter training? Thanks.
 

farmerjan

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A 2 week old calf should really only have water that she wants to drink, out of the bucket. All the liquid that she would be ingesting off her mother would be milk, with a little bit of water that she is "trying".... as in imitating the cow.... monkey see monkey do.
If you start giving her water in the bottle, she will not be getting any nutrition in it and if she should go to scouring, she will dehydrate faster because she will be lacking nutrition. Too much water will upset the true stomach that is digesting the milk. I have never given water in a bottle unless it was with electrolytes to a sick calf. They will drink out of the bucket when they want more liquid, and it will be in little sips, not pints and quarts. As long as she has some shade from the hot sun, and is not panting with her tongue out, or running a fever and acting sick, and is eating like she should at her normal feedings, not scouring, then she is getting enough liquid. I have tried giving them a bottle of water, when cutting them down to one bottle a day, so give them a bottle the other feeding but they are more like 8-12 weeks old by then.
Mostly they are eating feed pretty well so the "water bottle" isn't really necessary.

Yes, you can start with halter training/leading if you want as long as she is somewhat responsive to you. Most wait until they are older, and then have a bit of a battle. I trained mine to be on a tether/lead, tied out where they could get out on grass. They didn't eat much, but the ground was cleaner, they learned that there were limits to how far they could go, they could jump and play a little, and learned to lead and follow very fast. They start training oxen when they are little calves, in a small yoke or just tied together at the halter, to get them to learn to work together. So training her now is to your benefit. You can then take and tie her out on a patch of grass for some extra grazing when she gets older and she won't be fighting you or getting herself all wound around in a knot with a rope.
 

Blue Sky

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I should have titled this “can my bottle calf have supplemental tranquilizers”. She is really frisky. Jumping and butting. I thought only cats had imaginary playmates. I’m glad she feels good but none of the boys acted like this. My toes won’t be the same.
 

Blue Sky

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Thank you so much. She looks fine but it was 103 today and I wanted to be sure. She is in a pen next to my sheep flock of 60. The LGDs are curious but not hostile. A meet and greet is planned. Everyone has water and space and shade. I’ve had older bottle calves in cooler weather.
 

Blue Sky

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Yeah my toes are my fault for wearing sneakers. The previous bottle calves were boys and had some respiratory issues we took care of but I think that made them less peppy. This heifer is the opposite. Good lord. My great grandfather broke a steer calf to a sulky on a dare. Did a quarter mile in record time as well as small county fair appearances. 😝
 

Ridgetop

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My kids raised bottle calves as veal for our fair and our daughter would routinely go to feed her calf in flip flops, then come limping back into the house! Silly girl!
 
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