Sick calf...

Promiseofglory

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We purchased a very young calf off his mama at a local sale almost two weeks ago. He appeared normal in every way, but he will not eat. I was tubing him milk replacer, but when he developed a fever and diarrhea, I took him to the vet. The vet told me I need to quit tubing him because the tube will make his throat sore, he gave him an antibiotic, and made suggestions for things to try to get him to eat. The calf is older than we thought, about six weeks, in good flesh, now symptom free except for a slight cough and lethargy.
He still won’t eat. I am currently giving him milk replacer by shooting it down his throat with a dosing syringe. Tomorrow I will make a paste out of calf starter and put that in his mouth. I have another calf ready to wean, and I could put her in with him when he is completely symptom free. Perhaps she will teach him to eat. Anyone else have ideas? Help is appreciated.
 

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Beekissed

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Nice, stury looking calf! Maybe put some buttermilk in his milk to introduce some good probios into his gut...that may help jump start his digestion a little. You could also try to feed him from a bucket instead of bottle or syringe...could be he never really learned to suckle and could more easily be encouraged to drink from a bucket instead.

Will he suckle on your fingers at all? If so, you could train him to drink from a bucket...

 

Mini Horses

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If he's six weeks, probably was eating grass with his mom. does he have that option? soft hay? The milk was a large part of his diet and they don't like to switch from teat to botte. I'd just put some in a bucket and hope he will drink it...best if you have the real milk. Another calf would be a help to teach him, IMO. His gut probably isn't liking this change......hope it all works out. He's lonesome, too.

You say other calf is "ready to wean"... have you tried putting both together and maybe he'd start to nurse a bottle with her???? Worth a try, even if it means she stays on milk another week or so. OR if she's still on the cow, maybe she can bring a friend to dinner?
 

Promiseofglory

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He does nibble at grass, not enough to sustain himself, but we’ve just had 5 days straight of sloppy, rainy weather, so he’s been in a stall. He has available good coastal hay, a little alfalfa, two different kinds of calf starter, and the milk replacer.
I will wean the other calf with him just as soon as this little guy is symptom free. I don’t want to expose another calf to whatever bug this one has.
There is no chance this other mama is going to feed him. She is aggressive, and it’s too muddy to get her into the chute. I wonder, though, if a nurse cow might be the answer...
 

Promiseofglory

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Nice, stury looking calf! Maybe put some buttermilk in his milk to introduce some good probios into his gut...that may help jump start his digestion a little. You could also try to feed him from a bucket instead of bottle or syringe...could be he never really learned to suckle and could more easily be encouraged to drink from a bucket instead.

Will he suckle on your fingers at all? If so, you could train him to drink from a bucket...

 

Promiseofglory

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The buttermilk is an interesting idea...I’ll try that. He does not suck on my fingers, or show any interest in a bottle...he was just on his mama too long.
 

messybun

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Fair warning, I’ve never had cows. But could you put a little molasses on the nipple to try and get him to accidentally drink?
 

Promiseofglory

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That would be an easy thing to try so I certainly will. Thanks. I had a good opportunity to wean my other calf this morning despite the mud, so I have him in a grassy pen with company now.
 

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Nao57

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If he's six weeks, probably was eating grass with his mom. does he have that option? soft hay? The milk was a large part of his diet and they don't like to switch from teat to botte. I'd just put some in a bucket and hope he will drink it...best if you have the real milk. Another calf would be a help to teach him, IMO. His gut probably isn't liking this change......hope it all works out. He's lonesome, too.

You say other calf is "ready to wean"... have you tried putting both together and maybe he'd start to nurse a bottle with her???? Worth a try, even if it means she stays on milk another week or so. OR if she's still on the cow, maybe she can bring a friend to dinner?

I think the 'loneliness cause' is worth looking at also.

They aren't meant to be on their own at that stage. And even as adults some people think they aren't meant to be alone.

How is his temperature?

It is harder to set up cattle corals than duck partitions, so I don't envy the effort you are going to have to endure through.

But I hope for your success.
 

Promiseofglory

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There is no fever. The antibiotic that the vet gave him took care of that very quickly.
As I told someone else, I put my older calf in with him this morning. Maybe that will do the trick.
 

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