Have you met Charlie?

February 11, 2011

Charlie was the bull calf who was born by C-section on our farm.

(You can read more about this in my guest post on Heather’s Three Kids and Lots of Pigs.)Charlie

Charlie has done great, but his mom has had a little bit of a problem.

This is her first baby, and she is still a young cow. Sometimes, first-calf heifers don’t make enough milk for their babies. We need to make sure to keep an eye on the calves from these mommas.

After we turned Charlie and his mom out with the rest of the herd, Hubby Doc noticed something strange.

Charlie was trying to nurse from cows that aren’t his momma! Those mommas, and their babies, weren’t too happy about that.

But it wasn’t Charlie’s fault. His momma is a new momma, and she is spending a lot of energy trying to heal from her C-section, and she wasn’t making enough milk for Charlie.

Poor Charlie.

So we brought them both back into the barn, and started bottle-feeding Charlie.Charlie bottle 4

This is a little tricky. You want to make sure that you feed the calf enough so he’s not hungry all the time, and is getting all the energy and calories he needs. On the other hand, if you feed him too much, he’ll be full, and he won’t want to try to nurse from momma. And if he doesn’t try to nurse from momma, then she will completely stop making milk. And we don’t want that, either.

Charlie is getting fed 2 quarts of milk replacer twice a day.Charlie's hungry

And boy, does he love his milk! He can finish that 2 quart bottle in less than 2 minutes! He’s a good eater.

When we check on him between feedings, he is still trying to nurse from mom. We know we are striking a good balance with his feedings because he is gaining weight, but he is still trying to nurse from mom.

Hopefully, as momma has a chance to heal more from her C-section, her milk production will increase and we will be able to stop bottle-feeding Charlie. If not, we will keep bottle or bucket feeding him until he is ready to be weaned and transitioned to solid food (3-4 months).  Charlie likes it

Way to go, Charlie!