February 23, 2011

More calves

Welcome calves number twelve through seventeen!

This past weekend, we took delivery of thirteen calves - twelve bulls and one heifer.  They were all about 3 or 4 weeks old, but I suspect one was only a week or two old because his umbilical cord hasn't dropped off yet.  We sold six of the bulls and the heifer to my cousins the same day they came to us. That leaves us with six new calves on the farm!

With six new calves, all needing to be bottle fed, I needed a better feeding solution than a bottle for each calf. One sure way to be personally violated by calves is to walk into the herd with only one or two bottles.  They immediately start salivating and look for something to suck... my elbow, my knee, my boot, my wrist, each others ears... I think you get the idea.  Feeding them one or two at a time was also going to be a very slow task every morning.  Sharon found a Dairy Bar multi-nurser online and suggested that I could make something like that. After investigating, it was a lot easier and probably just as inexpensive to simply order the Dairy Bar.  I found a pretty good price on it at Valley Vet.  It arrived Friday, giving me a bit of time to check it out and read over the instructions before the calves arrived Saturday morning.

The nipples are designed to be slow-flow. This encourages proper salivation and makes sure the milk doesn't bypass a stomach - two things that can lead to scours.  Since this only feeds five calves and we have six, I've been bottle feeding a different calf at each feeding so they all get a chance to nurse better at the Dairy Bar.  I'm hoping this helps reduce the occurrence of scours in these young calves.

The dairy farmer we're buying the calves from is dropping calves pretty much daily. We're hoping to get more every weekend and turn around and re-sell them within a day or two.

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