Every once in a while, there is a complication and we find the need to bottle feed a calf.
Sometimes the complication is with the momma cow, but sometimes it is with the calf. Either way, the calf needs to eat, so the best option is to bottle feed the calf.
You can buy milk replacer at any farm supply store, but momma's milk is always better. Especially, in the first few days when you want to make sure the calf is getting colostrum.
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If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, you saw that Christmas was stepped on by her momma.
Christmas had been nursing fine, but it took her a while to figure out how to move around with her new leg splint. We knew that she wouldn't be able to get up and move about the stall on her own to be able to nurse off of momma.
We gently positioned Christmas next to her momma to try to nurse, but momma just wouldn't stand still. Christmas had also had a pretty traumatic day and wasn't showing any interest in nursing.
We knew that we had to intervene and decided to bottle feed her.
Now, you can always milk a cow the old fashioned way.
We used to have a jersey cow that we milked...or actually, Daniel milked because none of the rest of us could get the hang of it.
If you have ever milked a cow, you know that it isn't necessarily easy...or fast.
To make matters more interesting, Cece was sore from the calf not nursing most of the day. Anytime the calf or Daniel got near her, she would kick.
But...there is an easier way.
We always keep a supply of teat infusion cannula's on hand. That little white thing in Walker's hand is a life saver.
A teat infusion cannula is designed to treat udder inflammation and to prevent mastitis by draining the udder of milk. We are not treating any infection or inflammation, but we are wanting to drain the udder of milk...right into a bottle.
Gently insert the small end of the cannula into the teat. This allows the milk to quickly drain from the udder.
Place your bottle under the teat and allow the quarter to drain completely.
Then move on to the other three quarters.
In a matter of minutes, you will have enough milk to feed your calf.
In case you are wondering, we use a lamb nipple instead of a regular calf nipple. Since our calves are so small, we have found the smaller sized nipple is easier for the calf to latch on to. You can find a similar bottle and nipple here.
It took Christmas a few minutes to figure out how to suck on the nipple.
She kept wanting to slide the nipple off to the side of her mouth and couldn't latch on properly. But, once she figured it out...she went to town.
Be sure to turn your sound on for the video because it is just too adorable.
Walker would collect milk from Cece every evening and would have enough to feed Christmas two to three feedings. Christmas quickly figured out the routine and became our best friend.
I actually had a hard time getting pictures of Christmas because she thinks every human is there to give her more milk.
She tried to suck on my hand, my pants, my coat and anything that moved.
It only took a few days of bottle feeding before Christmas was back to her normal self...splint and all. The less milk we were able to collect from momma, the more we knew Christmas was nursing throughout the day.
While most times, the cow and calf don't need assistance, there are times that we do have to intervene. By using the teat infusion cannulas, we rarely have to revert to the store bought milk replacer.
Besides, who doesn't love bottle feeding an adorable little calf?
This post contains affiliate links, which means that at no cost to you, I may receive commissions from purchases made through links in the post.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.