- How can I buy?
- How many ml/oz do I tube feed a lamb or kid?
- What is the best calf drencher or tube feeder?
- How do I avoid drenching liquid on the lungs?
- How do I increase or decrease the flow speed?
- Is it better to tube feed a calf standing or sitting?
- Where do I position the black sleeve?
- How big is my calf?
- The tube stiffens in extreme cold, what do I do?
- Can you make a shorter tube?
- Do I need to kink the tube before removing from the calf?
- Why do we never hear about the 3rd stomach?
- Are antibodies absorbed as well when feeding with oesophageal feeders vs suckling?
- Can feeding milk through a tube feeder can cause digestion problems?
- How do I clean my calf drencher?
How can I buy?
Please check our distribution page for a distributor in your area. If you are located outside of these areas please message us and we will gladly help you out.
A good rule of thumb is 50ml per kg or until the tummy feels full. For example a 3kg lamb 150ml (5 ounces), a 4kg kid 200ml. You can do this four times per day. Feeding as soon as possible after birth with the best quality colostrum (high antibody level) will ensure the greatest antibody absorption for maximum immunity and health.
Both the Trusti Tuber calf drencher and the Flexi tuber drencher are designed for maximum calf safety and comfort. The section of tube that passes around the delicate throat and oesophageal area is flexible to provide easy swallowing, gentle movement without bruising, and allows the calf to breath more easily during feeding due to minimal pressure on the airway entrance. Both the Trusti Tube and Flexi Tuber have a specially designed safety tip to assist easy swallowing and gentle navigation over or around the airway entrance and also allows you to see or feel for the tube tip position within the oesophagus.
The difference between the Trusti and Flexi Tuber is the mouthpiece design - the piece that protects the flexible tube from the sharp teeth, keeping the tube nice and smooth. Both mouthpieces are designed to be easily held in place with one hand. The Trusti Tuber has a circular guard which sits against the muzzle in a position similar to a baby’s pacifier. The Flexi Tuber mouthpiece has a soft cross bar which sits in the corners of the mouth, similar to that of a bit on a bridle. The crossbar also has high wings to keep the mouthpiece central and has the option of using a head strap to secure it in place.
Farmers report both options to be much more pleasant to use than rigid tube feeders and within farms there may be one person who prefers the Flexi tuber and one person the Trusti tuber. Both designs can be used interchangeably with the same 4l Antahi Feeder bottle and replacement tubes. Whichever you choose, your calves will thank you for it.
This is an understandable concern. While farmers report to be much more confident using the Antahi tubers, all tube feeders need to be used carefully to prevent milk and fluids entering the airway. Here are the key points:
- Handle your calf and pass the tube gently – if the calf is comfortable and no force is involved then the tube will not enter the airway.
- Ensure the tube is passed far enough beyond the airway entrance and ensure it stays there during fluid flow.
- Ensure the calf’s head and neck stay above the level of the stomach throughout feeding – a natural height is fine there is no need to lift the head abnormally high.
- Concentrate during feeding, monitor your calf so you can recognise when something is not right and be prepared to lower the bottle and stop flow if need be.
Please watch our anatomy video which shows the important parts of a calf involved in tube feeding, it is great for removing the mystery of the procedure. We also have other carefully prepared information to assist with tube feeding as safely as possible Please watch the demonstration video, read our handling tips, read the safe-use product insert and also read our preventing fluid on the lungs page to understand where tube feeding can go wrong (click on the words to connect you directly to these pages). If in doubt ask your friendly veterinarian to show you how to use, how to double check correct positioning and how to recognise a problem.
If you would like to increase flow speed, try the following:
- Check the valve is not blocked
- Check there is no blockage in the tube
- Warm, fresh, clean colostrum is faster than cold because if the colostrum is left to cool the cream will form on the top which may block the hose tail. Avoid blockages by giving the colostrum a brisk whisk to break down the lumps.
- Some electrolytes form a jelly like substance, if you are using one of these types through the tube feeder ensure you feed immediately after mixing, and wash the tube through after use.
- Loosen the cap
Take care flow is not too fast and remember you can always quickly stop flow by lowering the bottle.
You can tube feed your calf either standing or sitting, provided the head and neck are above the stomach. For best safety and control, especially with wriggly calves, we recommend standing over your calf with the calf’s rear in a corner or with a backstop. A comfortable head position enables the calf to swallow easily, and also results in a more relaxed calf. If you are tube feeding a sitting calf ensure it is sitting up comfortably and not lying flat.
Some people like to sit the calf on its rear with its back leaning against the handler, similar to when trimming a sheeps feet. This is also a safe position.The tube needs to be able to pass to or beyond the appropriate size mark (and remain there during fluid flow). Consider the size markers as a minimum even though there is a good safety margin included i.e. it is better to pass the tube farther than not far enough. This means the black stopper should be positioned to the right hand side of the size mark.
Even if your calf is only 20kg you can safely pass the tube to the 100kg mark however this becomes more uncomfortable for the calf, hence the optimum guides.
Always set for the largest calf in the mob. For example, if you are feeding calves ranging from 20 to 50kg we would recommend you set the stopper to the right of the 50kg mark, use this for all calves rather than changing for every calf.
DO NOT set the stopper to the left or the close side of the mark, this will reduce your safety margin and could cause fluid to enter the lungs.The Antahi Tubers are suitable for use in calves and weaners up to 150-200kg. The calf size markers are a guide which means you do not need the exact calf size to use the product. We recommend to set the stopper on the heavier side i.e. use as a minimum, it is always better to pass the tube farther than not far enough. For older calves, weaners and yearlings, this depends on growth rate and you will have an idea of size relating to weaning weight and by monitoring weight gains. If you do not have weigh scales then weigh bands are a low cost and useful aid for monitoring your calf weights.
Here is a calf size guide for appropriate minimum fluid feeder positioning:
|Newborn||5 weeks (or halfway to weaning)||10 weeks (or at weaning)|
|Jersey x Friesian||35||60||90|
Warm the tube up to make it more comfortable for the calf. The tube has been carefully selected to be comfortable and safe for the calf in both very hot and very cold temperatures. The tube will soon soften with body temperature however it is recommended to warm and soften the tube for the first calf.
Not a fan of the longer tube? Not to worry, you can simply pull the tube off the hose tail (use hot water to soften the tube) then cut to the length you like and push the tube back onto the hose tail. The tube is deliberately made long because you can cut a long tube shorter but not make a short tube longer! The set length tends to suit very large calves and many people like the extra leeway provided so make sure you definitely want it shorter before making that cut!
Measure twice, cut once, as the wise fella says.
No you do not need to kink the tube because the tube is transparent you can see the liquid flow through. You do need to ensure all liquid has passed through the tube prior to removal. To be safe it is best to wait for at least one second after fluid has passed through before removing. Always remove gently.
The omasum (3rd stomach), probably the neatest stomach to open up due to its numerous page-like folds, rarely receives a mention because it is so darn well behaved. While not the most exciting of functions, it works away to absorb water, salts and volatile fatty acids and to push digesta through to the abomasum (4th stomach). So next time a bovine buddy has a problem in one of its other stomachs, thank your lucky stars there is one stomach that rarely kicks up a fuss.
This is a very good question. When suckling, the colostrum is diverted straight to the abomasum (4th stomach) whereas with tube feeding the colostrum is delivered to the forestomachs (1st and 2nd stomachs). So you may think that it could take longer for the antibodies to be absorbed. A study by Elizondo-Salazar et al. 2011 decided to prove one way or another – and they found absolutely no difference in total antibodies absorbed between the two methods. The forestomachs of a newborn calf are small and undeveloped therefore colostrum delivered via a tube overflows into the abomasum. Another study found there was a difference if the volume fed was small e.g. only one litre. This is because around a cupful of liquid may stay in the first stomachs resulting in only 3/4 litre over flowing.
In conclusion, ensure the calf is provided with a full feed and there is no difference. Feeds of one litre or less are not providing enough colostrum by any method. The main focus is to get enough antibodies into your calves quickly, whether that is through bottle feeding or tube feeding, whichever the situation calls for. Time is the critical factor as every hour after birth the antibody absorption capacity declines.
Not in the very young calf. In the newborn or very young calf do not be concerned, the forestomachs are undeveloped and colostrum or milk flows quickly from the forestomachs (rumen) into the abomasum where it would normally go if the calf was suckling. When a calf suckles or nurses a teat or nipple there is a natural closure of a very clever groove (the oesophageal groove) which creates a tunnel by-passing the forestomachs so milk travels straight to the abomasum. When the calf is older, the rumen has begun developing and milk entering the rumen has potential to cause digestive problems due to the readily digestible and fermentable energy source. Therefore, practically this is something to keep in mind when you are helping a sick calf over 2 weeks of age (general age rule of thumb). If you are treating a scouring calf over two weeks of age:
- Reserve the calf’s energy for suckling the milk feed so you can be sure the milk enters the abomasum.
- Tube feed the electrolyte feeds because it does not matter which stomach the electrolytes enter.
- Provide anti-inflammatories which help the calf to feel better and therefore increase their appetite and suckling ability.
- Diagnosing the cause of scours will enable the most effective treatments and most rapid recovery.
- If your calf has not suckled milk after 36 hours on electrolytes it will begin to fade due to lack of nutrients – you will need to tube feed milk in this situation as the lower risk of poor digestion outweighs the higher risk of starvation.
Easy clean material ensures your tuber can stay in good condition for longer. The Antahi bottle is designed to fit a bottle brush down the handle to clean those normally hard to reach places. The gold standard is to sterilise with Milton tablets after thoroughly cleaning.
Do not soak in acid, this may disintegrate the product and reduce its life span.
We recommend to have separate feeders for newborn calves and for sick calves.