Cows/Cattle/6 day old calve


QUESTION: We got a new calve last week, was found in the pasture, do not know if mom feed it or not we have been bottle feeding it 2-3 times a day It acts like everything is ok sometimes but the last couple of days its not as active, seems like it might be constipated has a lot of gas, and drooling more then before don't know if this is normal  it's are first need could use some help

ANSWER: This is a tough one.  Bottle feeding new calves is an art, and it takes a lot of knowledge and hard work to do it.  I raised dairy calves for over 10 years.. and I don't miss doing it now!

It's too bad you already took the calf from the cow!  A lot of times you may not think the cow is feeding it, but she really is!  Next time if you don't thing the calf is eating, pen the cow and calf together somewhere you can watch it.  You may be surprised.

Clearly that's not an option now.  Are you using quality calf replacer?  Don't use one that is made from anything other than milk byproducts, or it's too hard for the calf to digest.  That's probably why he has gas.  It sounds like the calf is cooking something.. a virus or bacterial infection is my guess.  Do you have a large animal vet that can come and check it?  That's my suggestion.  Anything I could recommend you give to him would have to have a prescription from a vet.  But do it right away.. once they get sick they are very hard to save.

Let me know if you have any other questions!  Here's my email:


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your response, the calve we got was a rescue from a large farm we were given the opportunity  to try and save him. we have been feeding him a multi-species milk replacement (Nurseall) and following the directions. We think he was about two day old when we got him. He was not  able to stand and was skin and bone, we got him to take a bottle and started gaining weigh having a good appetite and active was doing good for the next two days then he started to have the symptoms  I mentioned early. Its like the milk is upsetting his stomach should change his  milk? Thank you again for your response, were starting to get attached to the little guy and any information will be helpful thank you


I'm sorry.. I thought the calf was out of one of your cows... my mistake.  

I don't think the "multi species" milk replacer is very good.  One that is formulated for cattle is much better.  Land O Lakes makes an excellent one.  Check with your local feed store and get something else.

As far as what's wrong with him, there's not enough information for me to really know.  Does he have a temperature?  Is he still nursing a bottle or has he quit?  Does he have diarrhea?  

The problem is you don't know if he ever nursed the cow, and may not have gotten his first colostrum.  That's a big problem, because the colostrum from the cow is how they get their antibodies to fight off virus and diseases.  You only have 24 hour window after their born for them to be able to absorb what they need, so it's too late to give him any now.

There are so many things that it could be!  He could have a virus or any number of bacterial infections.  Anything that affects his "gut" is a problem, because it will cause diarrhea, which causes the calf to become dehydrated, which makes him feel bad and quit eating, etc.  They can unfortunately die pretty easily.

If you can get him to a vet, that's what I would recommend.  They can go downhill pretty quickly.



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Eileen DuJardin


I can answer most types of cattle questions, primarily beef types. Genetics, breeding, basic care, herd health and management, and showing. I'm knowledgeable in forages and feeding. Non emergency health and soundness questions. I am not a veterinary, and can't answer critical care questions. Call your local large animal vet for that service.


I've been a registered cattle breeder for over 20 years. My husband and I run a 250 acre cattle ranch in Texas. I've raised dairy cattle, commercial cattle, and registered and show cattle. I'm on our county Beef and Forage committee.

American Simmental Association. American Brahman Breeders Association. Falls County Beef and Forage Committee. Texas Farm Bureau

Associates Degree in computer science.

Awards and Honors
Many ribbons and placings in cattle showing, with most recent being: 2011 Fort Worth Stock Show, Senior Champion Simmental, and Houston Livestock Show Reserve Champion Senior Simmental.

©2016 All rights reserved.