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Cleft palate calf

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 4:05 am
by burnt
This hasn't been one of our better calving years. Lots of twins with a very poor survival rate born - dead or very tiny and non-thrifty.

Well, I've been working with one calf for a week now getting it started on its momma that somehow escaped the cut last fall when we culled for bad udders. I couldn't understand why this calf had so much trouble latching on for a feed. I've seen calves get on by themselves after being helped for a couple or 3 days, but not this one.

Turns out it's got a cleft palate, which explains why it has trouble ingesting milk while it's nursing. It's doing better all the time and looks pretty good, but it's a lot of work every day.

Any stories about what happens with cleft palate calves?

And momma will not be around another year for sure . . .

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 5:01 am
by lefty
I had 1 about 5 years ago , I never had to help it But milk went everywhere when he sucked . He grew well . Size wise & flesh he was as good as the rest in the fall .

Good luck .

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 5:23 am
by balestabber
we had 2 back in the 70's-----one calf and one pig--

both ended up being bottle babies,after weaned from bottles they were able to eat and did well

they both went to town in the fall.i was young,and they made good pets.

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 11:35 am
by Faster horses
Our daughters 4H heifer project had a calf with a cleft palatte. It was caused
from the heifer eating mountain Lupine at the wrong stage of pregnancy.
Seems like we helped the calf and as was said, milk went everywhere when
she sucked, but she made it to weaning. We didn't keep her but I'm not
sure what we did do with her exactly.

Good luck with yours, burnt.

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 12:56 pm
by ltdumbear2
If you don't give up, and as long as the mother will stand (more or less) patiently...the calf won't give up either.

...and there's always the bottle, till the calf learns how to drink water and eat grass...

Once you clear that hurdle, you're home-free.

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 1:08 pm
by burnt
Thank you for the replies. The calf is now conditioned to stand outside the barn door until I open it and it walks in and up to the cattle crate and waits for momma to step into the chute for grain.

Then it takes 40 minutes to fill its tummy.

And I'm not known as a patient man . . . :roll:

Gotta go, I hear a calf bawling for lunch. :?

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 1:31 pm
by Faster horses
burnt wrote:Thank you for the replies. The calf is now conditioned to stand outside the barn door until I open it and it walks in and up to the cattle crate and waits for momma to step into the chute for grain.

Then it takes 40 minutes to fill its tummy.

And I'm not known as a patient man . . . :roll:

Gotta go, I hear a calf bawling for lunch. :?


Maybe this is God's way of teaching you patience. :P

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 2:06 pm
by gcreekrch
Faster horses wrote:
burnt wrote:Thank you for the replies. The calf is now conditioned to stand outside the barn door until I open it and it walks in and up to the cattle crate and waits for momma to step into the chute for grain.

Then it takes 40 minutes to fill its tummy.

And I'm not known as a patient man . . . :roll:

Gotta go, I hear a calf bawling for lunch. :?


Maybe this is God's way of teaching you patience. :P



He does work in mysterious ways............. :wink:

Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 8:04 pm
by burnt
Well in any case the calf is managing on his own now so we'll see how he does. That was about as much work as I've ever had to put into a calf but at least he's thrifty. Nothing is worse than putting a lot of time and drugs into a calf and then you find it dead in the morning.

So it's all good!

Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 8:56 pm
by Faster horses
burnt wrote:Well in any case the calf is managing on his own now so we'll see how he does. That was about as much work as I've ever had to put into a calf but at least he's thrifty. Nothing is worse than putting a lot of time and drugs into a calf and then you find it dead in the morning.

So it's all good!


But it's also so satisfying when they want to live and do their part!
I'm glad he's managing on his own. Good for you for the extra effort!

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:54 am
by katrina
We finally got to turn out project out yesterday after a month.. We lost a cow and a hiefier lost her calf so we grafted it on to the hiefier.. She never has claimed the calf but will stand quietly in the stanchion for grain and green grass... While I wait for the calf to nurse I do my prayer list. It's kinda sweet music listening to the nursing calf and doing my prayer list... I miss that this morning terribly..

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:10 am
by burnt
Katrina, That is interesting! A silver lining behind every cloud, I guess. One thing I won't forget about this particular calf issue was listening to the starlings sing overhead in the trusses while I sat beside the calf, helping it get back on when it would slip off the teat. I had no idea that they had such a wide range of songs, often imitating the sounds that other birds make. So for that reason I dislike them a little less than before . . .

Another thing I (re)learned is that one shouldn't be too hard on the problems encountered by others until all the facts are known. I thought this little calf was just plain stupid or stubborn for not catching on sooner, but as I now know, he had a permanent and severe disability that caused his troubles - one that he will always have. But through persistence and the right amount of help, he's learned how to get along in life on his own.

Lotsa lessons there!

And by the way, isn't it neat that "prayer lists" can fit in lotsa places like while helping a cow and her baby! That's a memorable contribution you just made to us.