Friday, December 14, 2012

Rules for Using a Tube Feeder
 
The December 11 issue of Progressive Dairyman contains this note about tube feeders [slightly edited to put into bullet format]:

Dr. Sheila McGuirk, University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine makes these suggestions:
  •  Don't use the esophageal feeder if a calf cannot maintain a sitting position or its abdomen is already full.
  • Don't use it to force a calf to drink milk or milk replacer unless you and your veterinarian agree that it is appropriate for an individual calf.
  • It is appropriate to use it to administer colostrum or electrolyte to a scouring calf. 
  •  Have enough tube feeders so that they can be cleaned and sanitized before reuse.
  • Have separate tube feeders for colostrum feeding and sick calf electrolyte feeding. [emphasis added]
I must admit to not following this last bit of advice. On reflection it does make sense given the weaknesses in on-farm sanitation procedures. Let me know what you think about this. 
 
Other resources on tube feeding:
or try this link for a teaching outline on tube feeding:
or try this link for Jim Quigley's summary on tube feeding:

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