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How to use an esophageal feeder

PD staff Published on 19 January 2012


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Another popular video featuring Dr. Sheila McGuirk focuses on the proper use of an esophageal feeder. Here McGuirk discusses tips for this method of feeding and shows how to pass the feeder through the calf’s esophagus.

An esophageal feeder can be a useful tool, but can it be overused on a farm?

The esophageal feeder, when passed correctly and used to administer colostrum or electrolyte solution to a scouring calf, cannot be “overused.”

Don’t use the esophageal feeder if a calf cannot maintain a sitting position or its abdomen is already full. Don’t use it to force a calf to drink milk or milk replacer unless you and your veterinarian agree that it is appropriate for an individual calf.

Have separate esophageal feeders for colostrum feeding and sick calf electrolyte feeding. Have enough esophageal feeders that they can be cleaned and sanitized before reuse.
—Dr. Sheila McGuirk, University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine


Dr. Sheila McGuirk, DVM, PhD, discusses how to administer colostrum or electrolytes to calves via an esophageal feeder.She was a presenter at the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) Calf Care Workshop on October 20, 2011, held in Arlington, Wisconsin.

Video by PD Editor Karen Lee.

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