Calf won't eat/drink : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I just got my first calves yesterday afternoon and one of them will hardly eat at all. I did finally get him to suck a little milk from the bottle, but them he just stops. Yesterday this one was doing better (it was very hot and I got them from an auction) so I gave him some electrolytes and attended to the other one who was more lethargic.

By the time I got back to the him he wouldn't suck hardly at all. I think I managed to get a pint of milk in him last night and maybe a cup this morning. I believe he may have scours (yellow runny poop?)

Thanks for any advice.

-- Tonya Bednarick (, August 02, 2001


Tonya, keep feeding them the electrolytes. If they are scouring it's actually better for them than milk as the milk can accelerate the scours once they are established. There are lots of rememdies available for scours, but anything you might give yourself or you own children will work for calves, too. ( I know one veal grower who swears by Imodium-D. )Don't let them dehydrate or you'll lose them for sure. If they don't want to drink, spoon or syringe a little electryolyte solution into their mouths and stroke their throats until they swallow. It can be time consuming,but you can get a lot of fluid down them this way. If they just came through the auction they could be just plain tired/exhausted and may feel better after a days rest, as well. Remember that baby calves are tough little devils and will fight hard to stay alive if they get any chance at all. Good luck with them.

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, August 02, 2001.

Turkey basters make handy syringes for getting stuff down a large animal.

-- Stacia in OK (, August 02, 2001.

You will get lots of advice here .I suggest you read the archives .First off you should not skip more than 1 feeding of milk .It is ths calves only food and will die without it,a product called scours control 2 has milk and meds in it . .Add electrolytes to it .You need scours pill .Calves poop will be yellow , just like a baby on breast milk.Scours often has a bad smell and will be real liguid with mucus or blood at times.Are they day or so old calves ? How much do they weigh ? A 50-60 pound calf should get no more than 1qt 2x per day of milk .To much and they will scour ,do not give more than 2qts ofelectrolytes either .I hate to say if you are having problems already there is a good chance you will loose them .Depending on how much you paid it may be worth a vet call.

-- Patty {NY State} (, August 02, 2001.

Tonya, give it a drench of cold skim milk. I know, I thought it sounded cruel at first, and stupid, too. But my hubby said its what his dad always did for sick calves. Since that first sick calf, I have aimed for buying the sickly calves at auctions when the price was rock-bottom, because they have always responded to the cold skim milk treatment.

I had one pretty little heifer I bought for $7, which was depressed and had scours badly. I began to give her cold skim milk, and she responded! She never could take anything but that, though. I tried feeding her warmer milk, and some whole milk mixed in, but she could handle nothing but that cold skim milk for the entire 8 weeks up till weaning. She was healthy and lively when weaned.

Yeah, hubby is smarter than I give him credit for sometimes.

-- daffodyllady (, August 02, 2001.

Thanks everyone for you answers. I gave the calf some probiotics early this afternoon and by 4 I got it to take a bottle of electrolytes without my having to force feed him. A couple of hours later it took a bottle of milk.

I was just so worried because it wouldn't drink and it was so hot. He's much more lively this evening, coming out of his calf hutch instead of remaining curled up in the bank.

I did read the archives last night when he wouldn't take the bottle, but nothing really seemed to fit. I was completely unprepared for him not wanting to eat.

BTW, these are holstein bull calves. I had a holstein steer for the last year, but we got him when he was almost 6 months old, so I *thought* I was prepared to care for calves. Ha!

Thanks again, everyone.

-- Tonya Bednarick (, August 02, 2001.

As soon as you think you know everything you will need to know , something will prove you wrong ! I have been doing auction calves for 3 years .Just be prepared that you can loose up to 50% of them .If they have not had colustrum you a gonner ! If you make it past day 12 your all set.Good luck and keep us posted.

-- Patty {NY State} (, August 02, 2001.

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