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I don't know where else to post this. I asked  the vet and he wanted to give her a injection of some drug, but I was wondering if there was a natural supplement that will make her come back to her milk.

The cow is a first calf heifer, she lost her calf,   in a snowstorm, then a few days later one of our older cows laid down and died on us leaving behind a very small calf with no mother. The heifer is excepting the new little calf, but  the heifer has very little milk. I milked her out, and after 20 minutes of milking I barely got a pint. So were supplement the little calf with milk replacer, after we let her nurse the cow.   The little calf is getting about 3 pints of replacement milk  3 times a day, along with whatever she's getting from the heifer.  But the heifer is really mothering the calf, and wants the calf, but just doesn't have the milk supply to have the calf.  

So that leaves me with the question of if there is anything that I can  give the heifer to make her produce more milk I know that there is a drug that will make them produce more milk but I'd like to see if we could go more natural.

Then we have another cow, she's a older cow, she calved and somehow she decided that another calf was her baby and so far is not claiming her own calf.    We're positive that the calf we are giving her is hers, and not the one she thought is hers. The one is thought was hers is already tagged and it's mother is pretty attached to it.   Anyways, we've tried to just put her in a stall with her calf, and she tried killing it by head butting it against the stall door, so we put some calf replacement powder on it the calf's back and then put it on the cows nose, so the same scent would be in the cows nose that is of her calf.  She tolerates the calf to nurse, if someone corners the cow in her stall, and push the calf up to nurse, the calf is terrified of it's mother since she's kicked and head butted him so many times. He's also getting milk replacer supplement 3 times a day, after we force him to nurse his mother.    We're at a loss of what to do with them. We tag all of our calves so we are 100% sure that this is her calf, and we check them every two hours, and we seen that she was calving and left her to calve on her own,  then when we went back we had two cows fight over the same calf, and her newborn was staggering around trying to figure out just where his momma was.  The other calf cord was already dried and hard, and this other calf had  a very wet and new cord,  and she's the only cow that calved that morning. We keep all our heavies in one pasture, and once they are tagged, they are put in another pasture.  This isn't a new momma, it's like her 10th calf, and she raises awesome calves that have a great rate of gain, so we've been milking her out and then feeding the calf her milk.  But it's stressing the cow out, she hates being in the barn, she hates going into the calving chute to milk her, as much as she hates her own calf.   That and it's dangerous for the person trying to get her into the chute area, she head butts the gate and kicks at it and us, and then we are milking her she tries to kick at us.   After fighting with her for three weeks I'm about ready to throw the towel in and just bottle feed the calf, but the calf would do so much better on his mother's milk.



( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 25th, 2011 04:39 am (UTC)
You could try thistle and fenugreek supplements, but I would most definitely check to see if they're toxic to cattle.
Apr. 25th, 2011 04:43 am (UTC)
Thanks, I'll check into that, but the next question would be how to give it to the cow as she just gets grass hay, no grain, they do get a mineral supplement but all the cows eat that.
Apr. 25th, 2011 04:54 am (UTC)
Could you sprinkle it over her feed or give her special water, maybe?
Apr. 25th, 2011 05:07 am (UTC)
Wow after googling herbs that are safe for bovine for milk production, I found allot of websites that were against genetically produced milk, but I did find out that fenugeek was used on livestock feed so the cattle would eat the hay that had a moldy smell to it. And I found that you give 100 grams of it, but I was wondering instead of giving it to them in there mineral, to give it to her in feedstuff? Or if I could find a feed that has it in it?
Apr. 25th, 2011 05:29 am (UTC)
I would not give any animal of mine anything intended to have a medicinal effect without asking my vet first.

It's a short phone call.
Apr. 25th, 2011 04:43 am (UTC)

Can cows drink Guinness?
Apr. 25th, 2011 04:45 am (UTC)
Never tried giving a cow Guinness is it for milk production or letting the cow accept her calf?
Apr. 25th, 2011 04:55 am (UTC)
It would be for milk production.
Apr. 25th, 2011 05:00 am (UTC)
Sorry, Guinness helps stimulate milk production in some humans. :-) It might actually be the barley - kind of hard to say. (I mostly remember this because some men with the right genes will lactate if they drink too much Guinness.)

Has the calf that's being rejected been checked out by a vet? Back when I was doing wildlife rehab, we would occasionally see something similar in rescued mammals (squirrels, raccoons, etc) who had sick/ultimately unviable infants. That's the only thing that stands out to me - that there's some reason she doesn't want this baby, and perhaps she senses there's something wrong with it.
Apr. 25th, 2011 01:54 pm (UTC)
I agree with checking the calf out. Very common for mothers to do that, even if it's not right after they're born.

Good luck
Apr. 25th, 2011 09:42 pm (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with the rejected calf, he runs and bucks and plays in the stall, and he's getting about 9 pints of supplemental milk that we milk from his mother cow.
Apr. 25th, 2011 04:56 am (UTC)
Will the cow that is rejection her calf take the orphaned calf instead? I don't know much about live stock but I though I should throw it out there.
Apr. 25th, 2011 04:57 am (UTC)

Do not give your animals people supplements, even if they're herbal, unless your vet suggests it.

If it were me, I'd call the vet and see what he or she suggested for the first heifer, and for the second, I'd bottle feed the calf and milk the mum.

If she does this again next year, cull her.

Disclaimer: I grew up on a small farm, but we had goats and sheep, not cows. I don't have specific knowledge around cows. But I would trust my vet long before I'd trust the opinions of a bunch of people on the internet who may or may not have ever touched livestock, let alone kept it.
Apr. 25th, 2011 05:07 am (UTC)
This. Cows are not people, and supplements for cows are not the same as supplements for humans.

OP: It may be that the only answer for the milk production is medication. It's great to want to be natural about it, but think about it - what you're trying to do isn't natural. If a mother animal rejects her baby in the wild, the baby dies. If a mother animal dies in the wild, her nursling dies too. If a mother animal doesn't produce enough milk for her baby, the baby dies.

Doing something unnatural, like keeping calves alive that otherwise wouldn't be, might require unnatural methods to be successful.
Apr. 25th, 2011 09:48 pm (UTC)
Actually the calf isn't her's, the replacement cow's calf died in a snowstorm, and we lost a cow a few days later so were transplanting this calf onto her. She wants the baby, she's gotten snotty with me in the barn, thankfully I was on the other side of the gate when she decided she was going to take me, she hit the gate several times. She doesn't like it when I bottle feed her baby either, she usually shakes her head and bellers at me.

I know it's not natural, but were trying to give him something better than milk replacer, they thrive so much better on the cows milk.

We've transplanted three other calves this year, had several sets of twins, and several younger cows that lost their calves, so we gave them one of the twins.
Apr. 25th, 2011 12:33 pm (UTC)
The large animal vet suggests that we just pull the calves and sell the cows. He owns horses and cows, and with the price of even the weigh ups right now, he said that he would sell them, we got $1100 for a weigh up that we sold a few weeks ago, and that he, the vet, wouldn't put that much time or energy into them.

And actually the supplement my mare is on called Smart Protect from Equine Smart Pak has Fenugreek in it, as a appetite stimulation.

I wouldn't start feeding it to the cows not unless asking the vet first.

Apr. 25th, 2011 03:14 pm (UTC)
If fenugreek is used to stimulate appetite in horses and cows, as you've said, what makes you think it will do anything to milk production? Chemicals often work differently on different mammals.

Frequent milking, as the commenter below suggests, is what I'd try personally. But I'd still be prepared to either sell the calf on or bottle feed.
Apr. 25th, 2011 05:59 am (UTC)
If your first cow is pregnant and you want to increase her milk supply, you really need to clear it with the vet first. I know with human mothers, milk can dry up or decrease during pregnancy so it makes sense that the same is true with other animals.

I have no suggestions for the cow that will not accept her calf. Could you pump that cow's milk to bottle feed the calf?
Apr. 25th, 2011 07:00 am (UTC)
Just FYI, in cows it's called "milking".
Apr. 25th, 2011 12:51 pm (UTC)
lol Are you sure? ;)
Apr. 25th, 2011 03:09 pm (UTC)
Pretty sure, yeah. :P
Apr. 25th, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC)
IDK. I think you may be wrong. Whoever heard of this "milking" think you speak of. :P
Apr. 25th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)

This is what I get for posting comments late at night. :-)
Apr. 25th, 2011 10:21 am (UTC)
Hi, I spoke to my Dad, who has 40 years of cattle farming experience. He asked are you sure the oler cow didn't have twins? Who could the other calf belong to? He also said what he used to do to get a cow to accept a calf was: if the calf was dead, skin the calf & tie the skin on the live calf. Otherwise spray the calf with air freshner & spray the same up the cows nose, the same as you've done with the milk powder (good idea!). Try putting the calf in a pen with the 2 cows that were fighting over her, possibly you've got the cow's mixed up. Did the cow you think had calved have mucus out of it's vulva? Was it eating the placenta? Some cows will try to steal calves off other cows, even if they have not milk.

To get the heifer to produce more milk, get a lubricant (in Australia we use Potties White Ointment which is a zinc & castor oil mix, the same as nappy rash cream) and milk her every hour. Even if you only get a tiny amount...every hour. The more she is milked, the more milk she will produce. While youn are milking her, allow the calf to suckle, this will encourage milk let down. The more stimulation she receives the more milk she will produce.
Apr. 26th, 2011 03:12 am (UTC)
This exactly. Milk her as much as you can, and keep that calf on her as often as possible. The more often her body thinks it needs to produce milk, the more milk it will produce. Consider adding more grain to her feed schedule, just to make doubly sure she's getting enough nutrients to keep up the production.
Apr. 25th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
First off, you need to talk to your vet more. Your parents have over 300 animals? If the entire family doesn't have a good working relationship with a vet, you either need to put in more effort, or find a new vet. I know that's much easier said than done with the mass retirement of large-animal vets in this country, but it's the single best thing you can do. If you DO have a relationship where you can ask the vet "Hey, have you heard of anything less aggressive that may or even may not work?" and he's just not interested, GET ONLINE! In my experience, the more unusual something is, the greater the likelihood that someone wants to talk about it every chance they get. Find a vet who's talking about this stuff and e-mail them. Ask random people questions. Find something related and say "Hey, I noticed you've been doing work on such-and-such, and thought you might be someone who'd have information I've been looking for."

Is the heifer getting enough nutrition? You might think about graining her, just for a little while. Lack of nutrition can decrease milk production. I don't know what's available around you, but cheaper than commercial grains, you can use crop by-products. I've heard of beet pulp being used for this. Around us (New England), we use soybean meal and corn. And do you worm your cattle regularly? And check for anemia? Run fecals? You don't need a centrifuge to run fecals; just sugar-water and a microscope.

All that said... I agree with the vet. Cut your losses and send the calves to auction. Personally, I'd give the heifer and the cow each one more shot before culling them, but with 300+ cows, I wouldn't bother putting the time in on the calves.
Apr. 25th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
Oh we have a good working relationship with the vet, he's been outr vet for the last 35 yrs, and he said to give the cow a shot of Oxytocin, a shot that will make her milk come down, and then another shot to increase her milk supply.

The cows are wormed twice a year, get free choice salt and mineral, and then wet distiller grain along with there hay. They also get a protein lick tub made by Sweet Pro and it's called SweetPro 16. We also use the Equipride on the horses,

Then the calves are given a shot at birth when we tag them, and then another shot at branding time, and then another shot right before we wean them and they go to salebarn.

Were actually a small ranch in our area, most ranchers here have anywhere from 1100 to 6500 head of cows. We depopulated 10 yrs ago, we had 1100 head of cows, sold down to 500 and now we just have 300 cows. The ranch has been in the family since 1885.
Apr. 25th, 2011 10:55 pm (UTC)
Oxytocin is a hormone made by mammals' bodies. Depending on how you are defining "drug", you might consider it one, but while the administration method may be unnatural, the substance itself isn't.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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