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Offline idahoag

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Starving Calf Question
« on: March 10, 2013, 10:32:52 PM »
I have a cow that raised a pretty poor calf last year but a pretty decent calf the year before.  Last year the calf looked as though it wasn't getting enough food, so we supplemented it with a little grain.  This year the calf is three weeks old but looks two days old.  Looks like it is starving.  We see it sucking often, the cow has a decent sized bag, but the calf looks malnourished.  Any ideas? (other than get rid of the cow)  I've heard old timers talk about poison milk.  My vet said check for mastitis but when we've had cows with mastitis their bags were swollen and the calf wouldn't suck out of that quarter.

I'm trying to decide whether to bottle feed or figure out if something treatable is wrong with the cow.

Thanks....

Offline cowman 52

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Re: Starving Calf Question
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2013, 10:48:11 PM »
Does the calf ever seem to have a belly full?  I bet the udder looks ok but ain't got nada. Put the calf on a bottle, then let him I. With mom, see if it doesn't help.
 Quarter may look good but hard due to mastitis, if a young cows, you might save her for a while by milkin her out, and seeing if that helps

Offline leanbeef

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Re: Starving Calf Question
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2013, 06:56:08 AM »
I'm just trying to figure out why you included, "other than get rid of the cow" when you asked for ideas. Other than that, I really don't have any.

If she has had mastitis at some point, she may have lost a quarter or even more. If her bag still looks productive and she seems to be milking in all four quarters, I don't think that's the issue. An active case of mastitis now wouldn't explain her scrubby calf last year. If she does have something going on in the udder, mastitis is an infection and should be treated. A cow can get very sick if left untreated...or she may have gotten over it on her own. The reason I don't even think this was her problem last year is that I've seen cows with three quarters raise just as much calf as a cow with four. That's not likely to be the problem with a cow with two hungry babies in a row.

If I thought enough of her to give her a second chance after the first time, my conscience would be clear when I planned her retirement party after this one.

Offline BTDT

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Re: Starving Calf Question
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2013, 07:23:58 AM »
Do I dare ask the pedigree or history of the cow?
Was the cow a show heifer?  If she was, then I would assume she was plenty fat as a heifer and probably has a nice looking udder full of fat and not milk. 
Some of her teats could also be "sealed", but that is grasping at straws.
I have a cow with 3 quarters and she raises a huge calf every year.  So, the problem with the your cow is lack of milk and notthing else.


If the calf looks rough, pull it off the cow completely and bottle raise it. Sell the cow.

Offline vanridge

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Re: Starving Calf Question
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2013, 08:10:48 AM »
If you really like this cow:
1) get her in a chute  and check all 4 quarters, see if there is any milk, check for mastitis,make sure they aren't sealed etc.
2) Make sure cow doesn't have  a fever, indicating she is sick somewhere.
3) Get the vet to check her
4) If that doesn't give you any treatable results, get rid of the cow, she's not paying her bills :'(

You also may have a stunted calf no matter what you do, if the calf didn't get enough colostrum to start with.  
« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 10:00:59 PM by vanridge »
Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you cows... and that's pretty much the same thing.

Offline idahoag

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Re: Starving Calf Question
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2013, 01:23:12 PM »
I'm just trying to figure out why you included, "other than get rid of the cow" when you asked for ideas. Other than that, I really don't have any.

If she has had mastitis at some point, she may have lost a quarter or even more. If her bag still looks productive and she seems to be milking in all four quarters, I don't think that's the issue. An active case of mastitis now wouldn't explain her scrubby calf last year. If she does have something going on in the udder, mastitis is an infection and should be treated. A cow can get very sick if left untreated...or she may have gotten over it on her own. The reason I don't even think this was her problem last year is that I've seen cows with three quarters raise just as much calf as a cow with four. That's not likely to be the problem with a cow with two hungry babies in a row.

If I thought enough of her to give her a second chance after the first time, my conscience would be clear when I planned her retirement party after this one.
The reason I included that was because it seems like everyone that I have asked locally just says "get rid of her".  Like that helps!!  I'll start planning!  :)

Offline idahoag

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Re: Starving Calf Question
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2013, 01:28:09 PM »
She is just an Angus cow...no real history and definitely not attached to her.  I really just kept her an extra year for my knowledge....probably a poor decision but sometimes you learn a lot from poor decisions. Ha.  My 9 year old has been waiting for an opportunity to bottle feed this year...I guess this is her chance!!

Offline vanridge

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Re: Starving Calf Question
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2013, 10:04:43 PM »
Are you sure the calf is healthy? Sometimes they can be a little off and especially when they're that young it can really stunt them.... just a thought. Your 9 year old will love her new project. My kids sure did! Good luck!
Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you cows... and that's pretty much the same thing.

Offline HGC

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Re: Starving Calf Question
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2013, 10:52:23 PM »
Offer her a bottle of milk replacer.  If she sucks it down, she is starving.  If she doesn't take it, try a couple of more times.  If you cant get her to take it, she is getting enough milk to atleast survive.  We've had to supplement a few calves over the years for a period (couple of cows with mastitis and a couple of 1st calvers that got off to a rough start).  If they are getting enough of mom's milk to atleast survive, they won't drink milk replacer.

Offline sbarmfarm

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Re: Starving Calf Question
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2013, 01:51:02 PM »
What I give our cattle and horses is Pure Lysine added in to their feed/milk whatever lol 
It is an amino acid for growth, milk production etc  We feed a 2oz scoop x2 a day. 
When starting out give just a little and increase to get them use to change/taste..

Have a friend that gives it to all her bottle calves and they really blossomed..
Good luck and I would also give it to momma =)

Offline Pleasant Grove Farms

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Re: Starving Calf Question
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2013, 02:39:07 PM »
if you feed milk replacre and let the calf continue to nurse the cow be absolutely sure you get milk based replacer...
it is more expensive than the soy or plant based but if you try feed anything other than milk based replacer and the
calf is still getting some milk from the cow, the calf will starve.

 

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