Introduction: Tube Feeding a Calf

Do you ever wonder how newborn calves who aren’t able to nurse on their own live for years? The answer is manually tube feeding the calf until it finally gets the hang of nursing on it’s own. Growing up on a large cow calf operation has required me to tube feed calves at a very young age. It is very important to know about your food and what some people have to do to put food on people’s tables. You never know when you will need to utilize this information. I will show you how to manually tube feed a newborn calf in five quick and easy steps. Tube feeding a calf can be a life or death situation for that calf. Their life is in your hands.

Step 1: Mixing the Solution

Tube feeding a calf is impossible without the mixed nutrient supplement and the calf feeding tube. Open the calf supplement powder bad and pour it into a clean bucket. Calves drink warm milk, so the water being used has to be warm. Dump four pints of the warm water into the bucket and stir using a clean whisk.

Step 2: Inserting Tube

Now that the supplement is mixed, the next step is to make sure the tube feeder is clean and free of any kinds of unclean excess. Once the tube feeder is cleaned, locate the calf and put his head and neck between the person feeding the calf. The calf has to be positioned so his right side of his nose and head is on the right side of your body. This is extremely important because there is a special “Right is right, left is lung.” trick. This trick is the most important part of the feeding process. The “right is right, left is lung” means that the right side of the calf’s mouth is the right side to enter the feeding tube. The left side is the side that leads to his lung.

Step 3: Insert the Tube (part 2)

Now that the calf is positioned the correct way, locate the feeding tube and use some of the calf’s saliva to lubricate the tube. This allows the tube to slide down his esophagus with more ease and not scratch his throat. Insert the tube down the calf’s right side of the throat. Once the tube is completely inserted, take the mixed liquid calf supplement and dump it into the carrier bag on top of the tube.

Step 4: Lifting the Bag

Once the supplement is in the carrier bag, lift the bag high in the air so the supplement flows with ease. Being patient is extremely important at this point of the feeding process because the calf’s empty stomach has to slowly adjust to the supplement flowing inward. Once the carrier bag is empty, pull the feeding tube out of the esophagus slowly.

Step 5: Wash Equipment

Keeping the equipment clean is vital to the calf’s well being. Wash the equipment using warm water and hang on the hook above the sink.