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Best Bottle Calf Recipe to Treat Scours

Calf Health

The weather here in Southwest Idaho has wreaked havoc on my bottle babies this year! I lost several calves to scours and dehydration or pneumonia. I tried all the feed store brands of electrolytes but found them all lacking and overpriced. My calves wanted nothing to do with them and wouldn't drink them!

Below are a couple of the ways I have stopped my calf mortality.

Simple and Effective Recipe to Cure Scours

I found this recipe online. It is the best yet and has brought my calves back from near death. The price is also a fraction of that of commercial electrolytes. When the calves will not drink anything else, they will drink this. I have never had to tube a calf when feeding this mixed with warm water to equal two quarts.


  • 1 can beef broth (not concentrate)
  • 1 box of pectin (the kind used to make jelly)
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons of salt


  1. Mix broth, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Add pectin and mix with enough warm water to make two quarts ( a full calf bottle).
  3. Feed to the calf laying down or standing up; whatever you have to do to get it down its throat. Once they taste it, they will usually want more.
  4. Feed two bottles of this before returning to regular milk feedings, and feed the milk in smaller amounts more often.

For example, use one quart of replacer four times a day, or split two bottles into three feedings. Sometimes little calves cannot handle all that milk, and overfeeding is what causes scours, to begin with.

Selenium and Vitamin A and D Shots

Another helpful method I have discovered is giving selenium and vitamin A and D shots to the calves. I inject Bo-Se 2.75 ml and 1.5 ml of vitamin A and D the minute I get my calves home. This has helped prevent white muscle disease, in which they won't drink but do not have scours. Basically, they lose their will to live. This has happened to a couple of calves this year. Since I started these shots, it has stopped.

B-12 brings back the calves' appetites when they are not feeling good. Ask your vet for prescriptions.

© 2011 Leigh Robins