Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Raising bottle calves....

Not for the faint of heart. Honestly, I do NOT remember it being this hard. At least now I have a list of things I should have asked or acquired before I brought them home.

1. Ask the dairy/farm you get the babies from for a gallon or two of the milk they're used to drinking. I think a lot of these problems could have been prevented if I had gradually switched them from the milk they were drinking on the farm to the milk replacer.

2. Treat preventively. I should have given them a shot on antibiotics when I got them home "just in case". I tend to try to do things naturally and not step in until absolutely necessary....but the stress of riding two hours in the back of a mini van was just too much for their little systems, a dose of antibiotics would have headed things off.

3. Have electrolytes on hand. I can't tell you how many trips I've taken to tractor supply this week.

4. Give meds the MOMENT you suspect one is getting sick. Moe only drank a 1/2 bottle on Sunday night. That should have tipped me off that he was getting sick, but I shrugged it off and decided if he wasn't better in the morning I'd treat him then. The next morning I had to tube him...never fun.

5. Check their umbilical cords....Moe ended up with a bacterial infection that went into his blood stream and joints. Luckily the antibiotics I had on hand worked and I got ahead of it. It could have been avoided if I had seen him cord was getting infected from laying in a dirty dairy barn.
I'm happy to say that after 5 days they both seem to be much better and are up eating and running. It was touch and go for awhile. If I ever have to do this again I'll know better what to look for and to do.
Now I'm no longer saying "I hate cows!"....I'm actually kinda liking them....except when Mop sucks my elbows and I end up covered in calf saliva....yuck.


Gayle said...

I'm so glad you were able to nurse them back to health. An expensive vet bill or worse yet, death, would have been awful. Good luck from here on out.

Kimberly said...

You think the dairy farm would have made the transition easier for all of you. They should have been more helpful. I guess they didn't care, once they got their money. Oh well, you have two healthy babies now.

Question: How old are they?
You were talking about umbilical cord!!!!!!

Stace said...

They were one week old on Monday. Moe still has his cord, it's all dried up but hasn't fallen off yet.

Firefly Mom said...

What - you don't like cow saliva? And you call yourself a country girl! ;D