Tube feeding, otherwise called oesophageal feeding, of a calf is a necessary procedure when a calf cannot suckle or nurse enough nutrients for its health or survival.
It involves passing a tube into the oesophagus and allowing liquid to flow directly from a bottle or bag into the oesophagus and down to the stomachs.
There are two common scenarios where tube feeding can benefit the health or save the life of a calf:
1. The first high-antibody colostrum feed
2. Providing fluids, electrolytes and energy to a sick calf
Tube feeding must be carried out carefully as to prevent injury, stress and liquids entering the airway. There are delicate tissues around the throat of the calf and the oesophagus is also susceptible to injury when harsh materials are used. Even in the gentlest of hands there are injury risks due to working with conscious (moving) animals and the fact that in no position is it a straight line from the calf’s mouth to the tip of the tube. Injuries and bruising around the throat and oesophagus are not only painful but they can be fatal as subsequent infections in these areas are typically very difficult to cure. Rigid feeders are unyielding and can be pushed into the airway if incorrectly aimed or if the calf moves during insertion.
The Trusti Tuber and Flexi Tuber ensure the tube will move naturally with the anatomy of the calf and the natural swallowing mechanism independently of the operator’s hands. This means it is comfortable and safe for the calf, causing no bruising, scratching or pressure points. Stress to the calf is also minimised by preventing pressure on the airway entrance during feeding, enabling the calf to breathe easily. Users notice straight away how much more relaxed their calves are, making the procedure much more pleasant. We also proved an 88% reduction in behavioural stress in trials comparing the Trusti Tuber with a more rigid feeder.