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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branguscowgirl
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby branguscowgirl » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:50 pm

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

Oh yes! You have much more endurance than I to be able to handle that many births. :nod: Your numbers are much more impressive than mine, and you are a very attentive midwife to boot! :tiphat:
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regolith
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby regolith » Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:36 am

This is what I found in the paddock this morning
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and this one this afternoon
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see how they've got the exact same nose? 138 cows calved, calving's over :banana: :banana:

93 doing a fine job with her three calves
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what the grey calf that's with 93 looked like, the day that group finally stopped scouring
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She didn't look much better than that when I picked on her to handle 93's surplus milk once the first two calves had too much. Nothing like a real cow to rear them right!
I haven't figured out yet whether 93 likes calves or not but she lets them suckle, and that's all she needs to do.
Got to look at some healthy calves to get that image out of mind :(
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Leonie again, yesterday
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby GMN » Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:43 pm

regolith wrote:Five year old cow, due on the eighth of the month, she was chasing my dog round the paddock this morning so I guess from now on I'll pick up the dog on the way to the late calvers *after* I've seen to the springer cows.

Was going out this eve so I checked her just after four pm. Down. Went to the shed for calcium and a glove, treated her for milk fever, checked for the calf. Head and feet were right there in the birth canal, smallish calf seemed like it should slide straight out. Cussing myself for not having thrown the calving rope on the bike when I fetched the calcium, also it's nasty cold and I was planning on going straight into the vet for cow coats once I'd seen to her.

Ended up taking my cardigan off to wrap round the calf's legs for a bit better grip. It's a fine big heifer, Jersey-sired, Mum was keen to see her so I pulled her round to her nose, phoned the vets to ask them to put aside two medium cow coats since it's fifteen minutes to closing time and it'll take at least eight minutes to drive there.

I had a bunch of older cows blood tested two weeks ago. Calcium and magnesium levels were all well within optimal range, supplementation of magnesium same as last year, 1.2 - 1.5 times the recommended rates, weather wasn't the best, today's grass break was so big they couldn't eat it all, so there was no excuse for her being hungry today - I'd seen her at lunch time she was up and eating then.
If a healthy five year old cow will go down with milk fever under those conditions I can expect every older cow to get it... wouldn't be the first year that's happened either. According to my records fifteen out of 130 cows went down last calving.

The vet receptionists got a bit alarmed when I started shedding my boots and overalls at their door, and decided to run and give me the cow coats before I stripped any further.
Only problem is, I got back to the paddock with one and put it on her and found it only had one strap. Fastened that strap and hoped for the best. Took the calf back to the shed in case she laid on it while trying to get up, put some frozen colostrum in warm water to defrost and went out.

The calf has had a bottle of colostrum, the cow is up and walking around but she wasn't wearing her coat. I guess I'll need to stitch something onto the tail end of the coat to stop it coming off like that.


Glad she got up, nothing worse than a cow being down-
These things seem to run in spurts-last year beginning of this year, had 3 prolapses within a 2 month period, unheard of, because i hadn't had one before that in over 10 years-saved 2 lost one cow-
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby bigbull338 » Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:39 am

GMN did yall shove the prolapses back in and sew emm up or did you have the vet out todo it.
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby GMN » Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:12 am

The vet was out and did each one
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby bigbull338 » Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:56 pm

we had the vet out todo 1 or 2.then we started shoving emm back in and sewing them up ourselves.
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby lawnviewfarm » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:36 pm

Regolith,

Perhaps you mentioned it and I didn't see, but if I might ask, what do you use to treat the milk fever?

--Marc (a beef guy trying to learn something from the dairy guys :)
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby regolith » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:21 am

lawnviewfarm wrote:Regolith,

Perhaps you mentioned it and I didn't see, but if I might ask, what do you use to treat the milk fever?

--Marc (a beef guy trying to learn something from the dairy guys :)


Calcium. And I ensure she's got at least her daily dose of magnesium. And food. And she'll feel the cold more than her herdmates, so I like to keep a coat around for recovering milk fever cows.

Basic protocol is an oral drench of 400 ml calol (calcium chloride) plus a 500 ml bag of calpromag injected under the skin (calcium boroglutamate, and also contains Mag chloride and Vit B12). I only go for the vein on a cow that is lying flat out, not one that can sit up; and in that instance the oral drench has to wait till she's sitting up and able to swallow. Checking every 4 - 6 hours makes it unlikely that you'll find one progressed to lying flat out & they can die quickly from that point.
If she doesn't get up within the hour, I go back 3 - 4 hours later, repeat treatment with the calol and calpromag then lift her with the hip lifters on FEL tractor.
In either case, once she's on her feet she gets an oral drench containing calcium at least once a day till she appears fully recovered. It can take four or five days after calving for her calcium levels to stabilise.

Note - my reason for not attempting the vein has everything to do with my size and strength relative to the cow. If you have someone strong enough to hold the cow, and the sense to GO SLOW with any injection containing magnesium, then putting it in the vein will give a much faster response. I've been thrown off cows once or twice too often as they recovered, shook their head and sat up.
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby milkmaid » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:57 am

Have you ever checked urine pHs in the dry cows? Feed minerals with a low DCAD number? This sounds like a situation where both would be a good idea next year. Sounds like you had about 20% MFs... in most of the dairy herds I do records for (work for a group that tracks health records) the MF incidence is <2% each month.

The other thing I notice in the pictures is a lot of high body condition scores, which can contribute to metabolic problems like MF.

Just food for thought regolith.
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Basics needed to answer questions: age, weight, breed, sex. # affected vs # in group, feed type/amount, prior vaccinations, deworming, antibiotics, any recent changes....

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regolith
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby regolith » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:49 pm

Milkmaid: I've heard a few farmers say they'd never get their cows to 'optimum' condition score for calving because of the milk fever problems resulting the only time they did it.
It's a real pros and cons issue, in my case I think I'm getting a lot of production benefit from maintaining the cows at about 1/2 score higher than the average grassfed farmer, if nothing else. I've also learned over the years that any cow underfed on the day she calves is certain to drop with MF, so the transition group gets as much as it's practical to feed them. Even so, a lot of the milk fever I got this year came in batches on the days they'd been asked to clean up the pasture or rain has caused the trampling of most of it.

At a bit of a standstill on the issue. I've never gone down the DCAD route but do use sulphate and chloride minerals as part of the supplementation pre-calving. I've asked for help from industry professionals & will be discussing options in the autumn but it has to be practical for a one-man grass only operation.
Checking urine pH should be easy enough - I've never done it. I'm presuming you want it acidic pre-calving, is that right? It stings enough any time of year if you get it on damaged skin...
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby milkmaid » Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:29 am

Yes - I think 5-6 is where you want the urine pH in the close up cows. Neutral pH is 7. Normal for cattle is 7-9. The stinging sensation may be related to concentration and composition of urine.

IMO there's a difference between feeding free choice (agree it's a good idea for transition cows) and overconditioning those cows. And of course, overconditioned cows that go off feed are in serious trouble.
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Basics needed to answer questions: age, weight, breed, sex. # affected vs # in group, feed type/amount, prior vaccinations, deworming, antibiotics, any recent changes....

More info = better answers.

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lawnviewfarm
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Re: There's better ways than this to start calving

Postby lawnviewfarm » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:38 pm

Regolith and Milkmaid,

Excellent info and much more than I had expected. Thank you!!

--Marc
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