Tips for bottle feeding calves include raising multiple bottle calves as a group and using fresh milk, if possible. Cows are herd animals and do best around other animals. Raising a calf around other animals may even be beneficial. Natural feeding provides calves with the antibodies and nutrition needed to ensure good health, so allow calves to spend their first few days with their mother if possible.
Feed bottle calves high quality milk replacer if fresh milk is unavailable. For calves that refuse the bottle, stand astraddle of the calf holding the animal firmly between the knees, and then lean forward to place a bottle of warm milk in the calf's mouth. Weaning bottle calves may be done after a week or two. Provide calves with fresh water and high quality hay or alfalfa, in addition to regular bottle feedings.
Calves require large quantities of protein in order to grow faster and live a healthier adult life. Products created from milk, plasma or serum provide the most easily digestible source of protein. Less expensive protein ingredients utilize egg or plant matter that may be harder for calves to digest. Products that utilize soy or flour protein are even harder to digest and are not suitable for calves that are less than three weeks old.