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how/ when to graft a calf on a new mother, and how many?

 
Annie Hope
Posts: 88
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We have a highland heifer in calf. The previous owners think that she is due in October (but she ran with the bull so not sure). We would like her to raise some extra calves and/or to be a milk cow.

In terms of putting extra calves on, I have heard it is best to do this at birth. Should you have some calves "in waiting" for when she calves? How many calves should you put on an unproven cow? Is it better the first year to just hand milk her and judge from that how many she can take?

I have also read contradictory reports about how easy it is to share milk a cow that is also feeding a calf. Some do it, other say the cow will keep up its milk. Any tips on doing this? Also any tips on making her ready to be milked? She will now come to the fence and eat grass out of our hand. Should we start leading her round the paddock and then to the stall with food so she gets used to this?

Annie
 
Amanda Wheaton
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I realize your post is old but I will still answer cause someone else might wonder the same thing! I had a JErsey cow calve in June but her calf was stillborn. I grafted a Holstein calf on her the same day but she wasn't too thrilled. I sold him. Now its December and I got another calf to reduce the need for milking in the winter. She adopted him right away! We take the calf away at night then milk her at 9am then leave the calf on the rest of the day. We have been doing this for 3 weeks. We get what we need and he gets the rest. She holds up some for him but we are happy with what we get! Win win! now i dont feel bad for dumping all of my extra milk on fruit trees or turning it into cheese for chickens. Now I am growing beef! It was very easy to graft the calf on. All we did to graft was tied her in her milking spot and let the hungry calf nurse on her for the first 7-10 days. Then we started letting him out with her and he was eager.. and kept going after her. She was a tiny bit kicky for a day or two but now she lets him nurse any time he wants. I didn't really have to convince the calf to nurse on her any but I did move his head by her teats and kept spraying him in the nose with milk. He would get all excited and hungry and he kept moving closer and closer to teats. I let the teats get covered in milk and his appetite figured out the rest
 
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