Learning how to stomach tube a calf can be very useful when you have a calf that is to weak to nurse from a mother cow or replacement bottle. Stomach tubing a calf can also be useful when administering electrolytes to scouring calves.
Calves that are still suckling their mothers will be unwilling to drink or suckle from a bottle. It is important that when a calf is scouring that it doesn’t become dehydrated. Electrolytes will help to prevent this while at the same time help to repair the damage caused by the agents causing the calf to scours. In these cases the stomach tube is the best method to get the electrolytes in the calf.
For calves that are too weak to suckle, it is important to get the nourishment into the calf as soon as possible. Stomach tubing the calf will be the most effective way to get the job done. Not everyone is comfortable with administering a stomach tube because of the fear of entering the lungs of the calf.
This concern is not without warrant. It is possible that tube could enter the calf throat and straight into the lungs. Allowing the fluid of the tube feeder to enter the lungs would drown the calf causing death. So it natural for someone that has not preformed the act of stomach tube feeding before to be nervous.
Feeding with a stomach tube is really quite simple and when done properly there is no need for concern. It is actually easy to preform and only a few simple steps need to be following to ensure the stomach tube is done correctly.
Frist, mix up the milk replacer, colostrum, or electrolytes that you are going to use. Then pour into the bag of the stomach feeder.
Then get the calf in position to be easy handled and the stomach feeder can be administered
Allow some of the fluid to run out of the tube. Then clamp off the soft tube part of the stomach feeder to prevent any more fluid from escaping.
Next place the end of the stomach feeder into the calf’s mouth. There will be a ball at the end of the tube feeder. Place the ball into the back of the mouth with applying a small amount of pressure allow the calf to swallow the ball end.
You will feel the ball end snap into place after the calf swallows it. You how have the stomach feeder in the correct place and let go of the soft tube allowing the fluid to flow into the calf’s stomach.
The key is to allow the calf to swallow it.