There's better ways than this to start calving

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
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J&D Cattle
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby J&D Cattle » Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:49 am

Love the pics. Hope hard calving and milk fever ease up for you.
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby Nesikep » Wed Sep 17, 2014 2:55 pm

sure sounds busy for you there with all the trouble.. Is Leonie missing all the hair from her tailhead?..

I've been doing some milking these days as well, all hand milking. Mega is behaving very well for it, I'm just milking once a day and getting a gallon each time.. enough to flood my mother with milk, we're going to be having lots of custard and the likes. I imagine the calf was still getting 2 or more gallons a day from her (with 6 or so milkings).
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby regolith » Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:45 pm

short answer yes, definitely as she's on heat today, sorry CT dumped what I just wrote, will update at night.
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby regolith » Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:22 am

I tailpainted the herd about four weeks ago - Leonie is wearing red tail paint and there is hair under it in the photo. She's wearing green now like Andro and Gemma in the photo above, and some of the cows do rub the hair clean off when they cycle.

93 stood on her own for a few short seconds after I wound the hip lifters off her at lunch-time. This evening she didn't repeat the feat, she bounced around so much she managed to jump the hip lifters off the tractor and that was her back on the ground. She appears to have a touch of mastitis in two quarters, and I brought another calf out to her this evening as the first one seems happy with what she's getting and isn't milking her out.
It's strange to have to use the hip lifters to stand and hold a cow up repeatedly like this, mostly I only use them to lift the cow, then wind them off and the cow walks away. It's been around nine years since I've seen this degree of calving paralysis. Very glad I got the hip lifters repaired yesterday as she'll need lifted about three times daily till she can get up on her own.

Just ten cows left to calve and it looks like it might be two or three days before the next one.
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby regolith » Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:42 am

93 should stand tomorrow on her own I think. She was up for a good fifteen minutes after the hip lifters were taken off her this evening, and twice today I've seen her lift her hind end right off the ground and tumble over before the front could follow.
I'll be glad when she can harvest her own food.
The older calf has been suckling her while she's lying down. Younger doesn't have anywhere near that sort of brainpower; I still have to lead her to the teats once or twice a day.
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby Nesikep » Sun Sep 21, 2014 3:35 pm

Slow progress.. .the kind that tests patience I'm sure.. Must be glad to see the end of this in sight!
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby regolith » Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:22 am

93 has got up on her own twice today... not yesterday, but she did stay up and walk around for a long time in the evening.

18 Sep
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19 Sep
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21 Sep
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Was only expecting two Simmental sired calves and 110 had the other yesterday no problems, another bull (except now she's gone and lost it! hope it turns up again in the morning).
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby Nesikep » Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:58 pm

Just be careful with 93 when she gets up on her own, if the calf goes to nurse, that she doesn't fall on top of him... they all look cute, I've gotta wait 6 months until I get calves again.. New bull so I'm crossing fingers
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby alisonb » Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:50 am

Rego - Do you ever experience LDA/RDA in your herd, something I've never heard you mention?
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby regolith » Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:39 pm

If you mean the displaced abomasum cp hinted one of my cows was in danger of a couple years back... then no, we don't.
Unless it's happening without detectable symptoms.
The milk fever, however, is even worse than the weather we've had this spring.
Another set of soil tests show extreme high potassium levels across most of the farm which may be predisposing. I mean to do more blood tests asap as we've started AI now & I'd like to reassure myself that the blood magnesium and calcium levels are still good.
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby TexasBred » Mon Oct 06, 2014 3:06 pm

regolith wrote:If you mean the displaced abomasum cp hinted one of my cows was in danger of a couple years back... then no, we don't.
Unless it's happening without detectable symptoms.
The milk fever, however, is even worse than the weather we've had this spring.
Another set of soil tests show extreme high potassium levels across most of the farm which may be predisposing. I mean to do more blood tests asap as we've started AI now & I'd like to reassure myself that the blood magnesium and calcium levels are still good.

I think you may have just found your problem. Always pulled calcium down during the last two months of gestation so as not to build up a large level in the blood.
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby regolith » Mon Oct 13, 2014 8:58 pm

I got a phone call about the blood test results this morning.
Now if I'd just picked five milk cows (2 10 yr olds, a five year old, two yr and three yr old) the report was all levels are good.
*But* I also had a five year old cow calved the day before in the group. The vet was very concerned about the low calcium and phosphate level on her, and told me any cow that low in calcium would normally be a downer.
This cow is now five days calved and has not shown any symptoms of milk fever. I'll dose her with calcium this eve according to the vet's advice and they've got an 'expert' in the team who can look at the situation. I think it's safe to presume on the precalving and current blood test results that the mineral levels are generally good and most of the mature cows (not just the ones I see showing signs) are experiencing a significant dip in calcium at the point of calving.

Milk fever cases to date are only just slightly ahead of last year - I'd thought it would be way worse - with 17 cows treated for milk fever. I give calcium to a lot more cows than that, but record 'MF' against any cow that is staggery or goes down.

With two cows left to calve, these are the stats so far:
136 cows calved, 69 heifer calves 69 bulls.
Two sets of twins, both B + B.
Three calves stillborn - two of those were coming backwards, the third was 93's calf.
Thirteen assisted calvings. That's unusually bad.
One cow coded RFM - retained foetal membranes. She's the mother of the first set of twins. One or two cases is normal if mineral levels are good.
17 cows treated for milk fever.
48 of the 136 cows were first-time calvers.

AI'd 70 cows in twelve days... not going too badly.
And finally, some real sunlight and grass growth is taking off. Cows are just hitting peak production now at around 21 litres/cow or 1.9 kgMS - a little better than they were doing at the September herd test.
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby branguscowgirl » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:14 pm

You are one busy lady!! Glad your cow is doing better. All that milk fever would have driven me insane. You work very hard!
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby regolith » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:24 pm

With the stillbirths - that means I haven't found any newborn calves lying dead in the paddock this year. This might be the first year that's never happened.
Two of those were live healthy calves that died because they couldn't be born fast enough. The third was already dead when I checked the springers in the morning; I saw a heifer with one hind foot sticking out and brought her to the shed to pull the calf.
Additional to the stats - I've reared two heifers that were 'abnormal' at birth. 116 is pictured earlier in this thread. The other appeared to be brain damaged at birth, had contracted tendons and folded down ears but as she was also making steady improvement I gave her a chance. Both have been held back with the youngest calves and are still getting milk.
With hindsight it may have been better to not attempt to rear these compromised calves; I'm not sure that either of them will ever be normal.
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby regolith » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:27 pm

branguscowgirl wrote:You are one busy lady!! Glad your cow is doing better. All that milk fever would have driven me insane. You work very hard!


Well I'm no better than you brangus 8) Completely insane and just hanging on till I can get a couple milkings off.

Cow 93 happy with three healthy calves running around her - I have no plans to bring her into the milking herd until she's weaned those. Yes, I do have photos.
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