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dairy mom
Senior Contributor

Cannibalistic calves

not our normal practice but because of extended cold weather we have our smallest calves in group pens.  They are chewing the tail switches off of each other.  Had it happen last year in a pen of older weaned calves.  Any ideas on how to stop it or why the heck they are doing it?

Vet mentioned rabies last year and this year he has suggested giving the ones that have had their switches chewed off blackleg vaccine.  Really think he is stumped.  He not always the greatest resource on calf problems.

btw it is dairy calves so they are never left with their mothers.

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hardwayfarmer
Veteran Contributor

Re: Cannibalistic calves

We've never had that problem, but our first Angus calf born in 2012 didn't know where to nurse and kept sucking on her mother's brisket.  We could keep her going with a bottle, but she insisted on sucking the wrong end of the cow.  Finally my wife got a  squirt bottle at the dollar store with a pump handle like on a bottle of glass cleaner, for instance.  She bought a bottle of cheap cayenne pepper hot sauce and loaded it up.  The next time the calf went for the brisket it only took 1 taste to stop that bad habit.  We had to keep bottle-feeding it for a few days until she learned where to nurse, but no more brisket-sucking.  We've since done the same thing with young pigs that started tail-biting.  I'd sure give it a try with your tail-chewing calves.

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