feeding bottle calves
We have two bottle baby calves. One is two weeks old, and the other is one week old. We bought colostrum for them when they were born, and now have them on calf milk replacer. We're feeding them two 1/2 gal. bottles a day (as directed on the bag of replacer). Both babies are very lively and healthy, but we're wondering whether, in this severely hot weather, we should be giving them water in their bottles, or feeding them grain or calf manna to supplement their bottles?
Lane County Oregon
Thank you for your question!
It is a recommended practice to provide fresh, clean water to all calves no matter the temperature. It is essential to provide it in warmer temperatures. Rather than supplying it via a bottle, I would provide a bucket in their pen so they have access at all times. I suggest raising the bucket off the ground so its easier for the calves to drink and reduces the risk of accidents to the calves.
Supplementing grain is also a common practice for dairy calves. I notice that these look like Angus calves but it is still a good idea. Calf starter pellets are usually cheaper than milk replacer as well so it can help you to offset some costs. Many brands of calf starter are available but be sure to follow the directions on the label as feeding varies between brands.
Here is a link to a Utah State Extension fact sheet which may be helpful as well. http://extension.usu.edu/cyberlivestock/files/uploads/Bucket%20Calves.pdf
Please let me know if you have any questions I can answer.
Have fun with your calves!