Bucket Calf Help...PLEASE!!

Rebecca In Kansas

In the Brooder
10 Years
Apr 2, 2009
Hello everyone. MY family and I are having problems with a calf we recently got. We got her, as well as 2 bull calves, from a guy that got them from a dairy. They are Jerseys, and vary in age. We did lose one of the bull’s a couple of days after we brought them home.

The other bull is doing WONDERFUL!! He’s active, and getting bigger everyday.

It’s the little heifer (Paige) that I am frustrated with.
She was a couple days old when we brought her home. When we got her, the condition she was in was appalling. She was shooting yellow water-like diarrhea, she eyes were dull, she couldn’t stand more than a couple of minutes, you could count every “knot” in her backbone, as well as her ribs, her hip bones made sores where they were rubbing on her skin…the list goes on and on.
These obviously were not the shape we wanted these calves to be in when we purchased them but I felt like we could not just leave them there as they were not getting the care they needed. So, we brought them home with us.

We’ve had them for 2 weeks now. Both have put on a good amount of weight. Paige looks much much better. Her diarrhea has cleared up, has had a round of antibiotics, her coat is shinier and not as flaky and she’s very interested in things and eats her entire bottle, 2 quarts, twice a day.
HOWEVER—this is the part I am frustrated with. We can not get her to stand on her own. We have to haul her up every morning/evening to eat. After she’s up she walks around. She’s slow, and still seems weak, but she will following you anywhere after you’ve fed her a bottle. And, she does this little lurch like she’s half heartedly trying to get up, up seems to give up.
SO, do you think she will eventually get this on her own? She’s been though so much, I just wonder if I am just being impatient and she really just does not have the strength to get up on her own, or if we have just babied her too much and she just won’t?

We’ve even teased her with her bottle, giving her a little sip to see if when we take it, that will make her irritated enough to get up and get it. Nope. We still had to get her up.

Also—she does seem to be very very stubborn. We’ve had the halter on her twice, to see if small walks would help her build up her strength, and when we put the halter on her, she does this flop thing where she won’t even lift up her head—like she’s dying---LOL However, as soon as you take it off she suddenly comes back to life. LOL We’ve given up on the halter, and just take her out on walks with out it. She bonds really well with who ever gives her bottles and will just follow right by you like a faithful dog.

Any suggestions on why she isn’t standing on her own? Still weak? Spoiled?


PS--I did also post this in the BackyardHerds Group...just thought there also might be someone here that could help.
I already posted over there and have gotten some really good advice already!

She's 2 1/2 weeks old, drinking 2 pints, twice a day, (I said QUARTS above, its not..its' pints....I needed another cup of coffee before posting this morning.) She has nibbled around a bit on calf creep feed but doesn't seem overly intersted in it.

I was pretty sure the halter thing was normal--it's just pretty funny to watch the little drama queen during her fit!

Thanks everyone!
Glad you found the info you needed!


I LOVE that site as well as this one, but I haven't posted (but maybe once) over there....
We just recently (last week) got our first calf...(had one about a year ago, but lost him before I could even help him---sympathy buy he was)....
This calf I got from my Grandpa's herd (he passed away April 15th, 2009)...So I am slowly but surely getting some of his herd--to keep the herd going...
I am sure I will very soon be posting over there ALOT....I know it was the same with this site...I joined, and don't think I posted on here for about 6 months...lol how silly was that...
If she is only getting a total of a quart a day I would say that isn't enough. Can you add a third feeding? I would also second the idea of the Bose injection. I don't know if you got an innoculation record, or if they even had early care. I would also get a creep feed to introduce the calves to so they have additional feed. And don't forget salt and water. Good quality alfalfa would be a thought as well. I bought a drop bull at an auction and it took about 2 weeks to get him turned around. He picked up some kind of bug at the sales yard. He finally did well. He got a lot more milk than a pint at a time, though. Good luck.

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