This morning the little calf didn’t look any better. She may have even been a little worse. She still has the weird thing where her ankles are weak and she wasn’t nursing. Miguel, Vicente and Michael went down this morning while I was off farm and brought the calf and momma back to the barn where we could work on them easier. We gave the calf about 20 minutes to see if she would nurse now that both mom and calf were in an enclosed stall with no distractions. Alas, no luck there so it was time for plan B.
Plan B started with a quick trip to the feed store to buy this.
I also needed a rope halter, which was actually why I went. But it couldn’t hurt to get some vitamins in the little girl. I shot this stuff in her mouth. Most of it went right back out and onto the ground but I’m sure some of it went in. I was supposed to wait 30 minutes to see if this stuff worked so while I waited I put fresh shavings in the stall for the cows and then put a fan in their stall to help with the heat and flies. I also sprayed them both down with fly spray. The more I could keep Sprinkles standing still, the more apt she would be to hang out and let the calf nurse.
After waiting 30 minutes to see if the calf would perk up from the magic elixir (she didn’t), I grabbed a rope halter and asked Adam to come and help. After a few false attempts, I finally got the rope halter on Sprinkles. Prior to this point I’d been feeding Sprinkles bananas one by one so she was looking at me like maybe I wasn’t so bad. When the halter went on, her opinion of me darkened considerably. But eventually we were able to get her head tied to a post in the stall and we were able to pin her against the wall. I then tied one of her back legs back so she couldn’t kick us (on purpose) or the calf (by accident) and then dragged the calf over to try and nurse.
The little calf was less than enthusiastic but after fighting her a bit I finally got her on the teet and she drank a bit of milk. Not much. After realizing that she’s done all she’s going to do, I put the calf back in the corner and proceeded to hand milk Sprinkles to get some colostrum in her via bottle feeding.
Since Sprinkles was conveniently tied bow and stern, I grabbed the pail I’d brought for just this purpose and proceeded to hand milk her to get some milk for the calf. She wasn’t too happy with me but she did her best to let me get away with it. We finally released Sprinkles and I filtered the milk, bottled it, and put it right into the calf. In total she’s probably had about a cup of colostrum. In addition she’s had about 1/2 gallon of Betsy milk.
I’ve talked to the vet and she has some ideas of what is going on. For now the best we can do is to get milk in her and give her some time. We’ll see how the rest of the feedings go today and tomorrow.