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How Do You Care For Orphan Calves?

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Several situations can lead to a calf becoming orphaned. The cow may have been a first-time mother and lacked the experience to care for her calf, or may have been sick or old. The calf may have been one of a set of twins and the cow rejected one of her young, or the cow may have died due to problems calving. Regardless of the reason for the calf becoming abandoned, it's now up to you to take care of it. This can be a challenging but rewarding experience and may even provide a learning experience for your kids. Dip or swab the calf's navel with a 2 percent iodine solution or another topical disinfectant to prevent bacteria from entering and causing illness. Monitor the calf's umbilical cord for infection daily. If it is long, you can cut it to about 3 inches before disinfecting; it will dry and fall off in a few days, and the navel will heal. Disinfect a calf bottle and nipple; this is the easiest method for feeding an orphaned calf, though some may need help learning to nurse from ... more
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