Posted 04-18-2004 at 21:42:39
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I agree with Fern.
Make sure the calf has fresh water available at all times. You may not see it drinking for awhile, but it will nose around and drink fairly soon.
I always used Calf Manna pellets to introduce bottle babies to dry feed. Just push a little bit into the calf's mouth after every bottle. It will spit out more than it swallows at first, but will be eating it in a week or two. Keep a container of dry calf manna out for the calf and it will catch on and start eating it before too long. Also keep a small of amount of fresh hay out for the calf.
Calves normally learn to eat various foods by imitation, mostly. Without a mama cow to show the calf, it will pick up on eating various dry foods a little slower, but it will get the hang of it.
Calves will nibble on dry feed for quite some time before they dig in and make a meal of it. But, while they are nibbling, their rumen is developing the proper good bacteria needed to digest the different kinds of dry feed. This is a vital part of their digestion and growing process.