Been a tough year. ..


Dec 22, 2015
I've been reading posts on byc for years but only just joined. We're in north east oklahoma, we've got 5 horses (2 are boarded,not ours) 2 labs, 3 cats, rabbits, chickens, ducks, and cattle. This year, both of my best breeding new Zealand does have eaten 3 litters, I've lost over 40 young chickens that I hatched out to coryza, I'll be culling the rest of the flock in spring after collecting enough eggs to hatch out to replace them, and my dexter heifer just had her first calf stillborn. We bought a dairy Angus cross 2 day old calf to put on her and she loved him at first, but is now bullying him. So I'm supervising nursing 3 times a day.
I've heard contradicting opionions about milking, some insist you milk dry twice a day, others insist this is bad.... the calf (3 days with surrogate momma) is still bright eyed and playful, but I'm a little worried he may not be getting enough. Any thoughts on this?
Maggie is 3 years old, very selfish with her feed and hay, but the calf has nibbled a bit of hay, and I'm also thinking of switching her from 20%feed back to the tubs she was on before.
I've found nothing at all on the benefit or problems with a nursing calf eating from a feed tub, again, any thoughts? He does lick the mineral block quite a bit. I have no doubt he'd have his nose in a molasses tub.thank you in advance!


Dec 22, 2015
..... I have no idea what an opionion is, but apparently my phone does. .. do they grow like regular onions? Are they stinky? Lol. ...

Yorkshire Coop

Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Aug 16, 2014
Hi :welcome

Glad you could join us here! I'm sorry to read about all your troubles that you have had and the losses that you have suffered :hugs

I'm afraid I don't have any experience at all with cattle. You may like to drop by the other livestock section. Here is the link ~

There is also the link there for our sister site "Backyard herds" I'm sure that would be very helpful for you too.

Good luck :frow


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
St. Louis, MO
I too recommend the other livestock section of the forum.
I do have cattle experience but not hand feeding or orphaned calves.
My first suggestion though would be to separate the calf, milk the cow and bottle feed the calf with that milk.
Also provide the calf with some calf starter feed and alfalfa hay if you can get it.


BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Dec 12, 2013

The links you've been given should be helpful. Sorry to hear about your difficult year. We've been raising meat rabbits almost 2 years now and I recall reading that if you have a doe that eats her young, she's probably always going to do that. You might need to find another doe and cull the baby-eating ones. Ours haven't done that so I can't speak from personal experience, that's just what I've read.

Hope things smooth out for you soon, good luck.

Happy Holidays!

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Aug 26, 2009
Out to pasture
I'm sure the "Bunnylady," BYC user name could give you good advice on raising them. I think the mamas are best left, very much alone. Having folks around may have caused her to eat the bunnies to protect them - nature is weird some times.


Dec 22, 2015
My older, proven and best doe did have her litter..... outside the box on the wire. No survivors. My other doe was bred the same day but hasn't even pulled fur yet. She's notorious for being a week late, we'll see.
They are usually left alone, but handled enough to be accustomed to it without freaking. Toenails clipped, moved to outside pens for exercise in good weather, etc etc. They're not really skittish. I did find it that my daughter was not properly caring for their feed and water for a time, and I'm sure this had a lot to do with it. (My mom is sick and I've spent more time fencing training and feeding her 30+racehorses than at my own farm and was depending on my daughter to pick up extra chores. Teenagers. Go figure. I think she gets it now though)
I've anyway culled 2 does that didn't pan out, so I've only got these two left, outside of my pet breeds.
I've been seriously thinking of going from NZ to Flemish though, maybe it's time. It just really sucks to put everything into your permanent resident breeding stock, train, raise, hand choose, and have it not work out, or stop working after 2 years. Sigh. On the plus side, my bottle calf is doing very well (dairy Angus cross out on a dexter cow) even though she loves him as long add he's not trying to nurse.... so have to tie and supervise. Lol. But my other two dairy heifers LOVE him! And will be excellent nurse cows!

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