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Calf Won't Suck

  • 31-03-2023 6:27am
    Registered Users Posts: 2,175 ✭✭✭

    I know it's been discussed here before but I can't find a thread on it.

    Anyway had a calf born Tuesday evening. Was up straight away trying to suck but went to every bloody part of cow sucking except the tit. Approx. 3 hours later I put cow in calving gate and tried to put him sucking to no avail. I squirted milk into her mouth and put tit in her mouth but she refused to suck it so eventually milk cow and fed with bottle. She sucked bottle perfectly so assumed she would manage herself after that.

    But now 2 days later she still hasn't sucked and since that 1st time with the bottle she won't suck that either so tubing her since.

    I've got a few injections from the vet but not making any difference to the sucking.

    She's in good enough form and fairly strong considering.

    I've tried the usual chocolate and honey on the nipple of the bottle each time before tubing but she just licks it off and won't suck.

    I just don't know what else I can do at this stage so any advice greatly appreciated.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,890 ✭✭✭Bullocks

    Might be worth getting the vet to look at her in case she has a swelled tongue or anything that you might be missing

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,681 ✭✭✭✭patsy_mccabe

    The search function on Boards is a disaster. Are you feeding any minerals pre-calving? I started given mine boluses (Allsure-cattle) on the vets advice after a lot of calf problems. It seems to have made a huge improvement.

    Can you let teh calf go 12hrs without feeding. Hunger is a good sauce - as they say.

    'The Bishops blessed the Blueshirts in Galway, As they sailed beneath the Swastika to Spain'

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,175 ✭✭✭Sami23

    Yeah the cows were bolused this year for the 1st time in late January with 2 boluses - Allsure and Cosicure I think and they getting a sprinkle of pre-calver minerals on the silage also.

    Well the calf was fair hungry the day after she was born as I presumed she'd work away after the 1st feed I gave her but she still wouldn't suck so out of ideas.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,668 ✭✭✭50HX

    If the calf is strong as you say I'd +1 on the hunger route

    Have the cow in the calving gate and when you let the calf in you'll know pretty quick if it's hunger or not

    Do be afraid to let calf go 12+hours without a feed

  • Registered Users Posts: 36 Itryhard

    I agree on the hunger trick and also found honey on the tit is good

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,175 ✭✭✭Sami23

    Well brought calf to the vet yesterday. Vet said she had slight navel infection and slightly high temp. Advice was to stop stomach tubing her milk and jus give electrolytes with tube. Tubing milk into a calf after a few days not good for them apparently.

    Anyway milked cow last night b4 bed and managed to get her to suck about 250ml from bottle and tubed 2lts electrolytes.

    This morning milked cow again and she sucked 500ml from the bottle very slowly with honey on nipple and my fingers.

    After that she went over to cow in calving gate and started rooting around her neck again so i said I'd give it another go. Put honey on cows tit and after a big battle with calf trying to suck top of elder she finally latched on and sucked perfectly even started pucking.

    No when sue slips off the tit it's a battle to get her back on but I'm delighted with that progress this morning.

    I separated them now for a while and will go again after few hours.

    So all in all Tuesday to Saturday before she sucked cow.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,668 ✭✭✭50HX

    Great to hear, looks like your on the right road with it

    Keep us posted hopefully calf will drink by itself this evenin

  • Registered Users Posts: 329 ✭✭The Rabbi

    The limousin calves here off the stock bull are thick as ship when it comes to sucking.

    They try to suck the neck and throw the tongue out to the side of their mouth when you use the teat.

    I tube them for two or three days to keep the strenght up.Then a little bit of hunger can be used.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,194 ✭✭✭Jarhead_Tendler

    Have you tried getting to know it first?

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,203 ✭✭✭tanko

    It’s natural for calves to suck anything apart from the teat before they find it, they need to be given a few hours sometimes, better not to interfere unless the cow has big bottle teats or a very low bag. Tubing calves is a last resort imo, unless they can’t stand up and suck by themselves.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,668 ✭✭✭50HX

    Well Sami what's the latest on the calf?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,175 ✭✭✭Sami23

    She's flying it sucking away herself now whenever she feels like it.

    Only sucking 2 tits on the 1 side yet but delighted with progress.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,668 ✭✭✭50HX

    Super, they'd break your melt at times but look at the 2 of them some nice summers evenin & say to yourself twas worth it😀