7 day old calves....

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farmerjan
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby farmerjan » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:00 pm

I definitely think it is the salt. The calves are getting more than they need and regardless of the cows having plenty of water, so not gorging on the water, the calves do not need the salt and are probably getting a near toxic dose. Their manure and pee might look normal, but they are probably peeing alot more than you know and so are possibly mildly dehydrated too. I have read about using salt as a limiter, but never for cows close to freshening or with smaller sized calves. Stop the salt as a limiter and see if it doesn't clear up. The cows have too much salt in their diet, it is going through the milk and anything the calves are getting has a high salt concentrate. Ought to try to get some milk out of a cow or two and see if it can be tested for salt concentration.
I suspect the mineral analysis will show a high salt concentrate but maybe not.
This is my gut reaction, no guarantee. To me using it as a limiter is not the way I would go. If they are eating the DDG, it is almost like force feeding them salt. Sure, they stop, but they are getting more than they really need in my humble, uneducated opinion. They are gobbling the DDG for a bit, and you know they are getting a fair amount of salt.
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby Fire Sweep Ranch » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:09 pm

I appreciate your input, however I can assure you these 7 day old calves ARE NOT into the feed! They are only drinking milk, and have been up in the pens now for a few days and still have symptoms. Also, they are too small to even reach into the feeders where we put the mix.
We have been on the DDG mix for about 30 days, of the 5 calves affected, only these two are during the time we are feeding the salt/ddg mix. So I doubt it is the salt. Our vet checked them for dehydration, and there was none that he could detect (tent over the eyelid).
We fed the same thing last year, and did not have any of these symptoms.... so why this year and not last?
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby True Grit Farms » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:24 pm

Fire Sweep Ranch wrote:I appreciate your input, however I can assure you these 7 day old calves ARE NOT into the feed! They are only drinking milk, and have been up in the pens now for a few days and still have symptoms. Also, they are too small to even reach into the feeders where we put the mix.
We have been on the DDG mix for about 30 days, of the 5 calves affected, only these two are during the time we are feeding the salt/ddg mix. So I doubt it is the salt. Our vet checked them for dehydration, and there was none that he could detect (tent over the eyelid).
We fed the same thing last year, and did not have any of these symptoms.... so why this year and not last?

The vet asked if we had quit feeding the cow that had the staggers right off the get go. And in two days off the feed she was back to walking normal. She was still moving a little slow for a few more days but not staggering. Anytime there's a problem you always stop the feed and give hay and clean water only.
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby farmerjan » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:39 pm

Fire Sweep Ranch wrote:I appreciate your input, however I can assure you these 7 day old calves ARE NOT into the feed! They are only drinking milk, and have been up in the pens now for a few days and still have symptoms. Also, they are too small to even reach into the feeders where we put the mix.
We have been on the DDG mix for about 30 days, of the 5 calves affected, only these two are during the time we are feeding the salt/ddg mix. So I doubt it is the salt. Our vet checked them for dehydration, and there was none that he could detect (tent over the eyelid).
We fed the same thing last year, and did not have any of these symptoms.... so why this year and not last?


I didn't think the calves were into the feed, but that they are getting too much salt through the cows milk. And like I said, just my personal thoughts, definitely not an expert. But I have had some issues with salt toxicity in the past and we never put it in our feed anymore as any kind of a limiter.
Why this year and not last? Is there any possibility that the salt is tainted with something else that could be toxic ? Or the DDG being from a different "formula" at the place it comes from?
Maybe lacking some miniscule amount of a necessary mineral because the DDG is different from last year? I hope the lab results will give you something to work with. Or something in your mineral mix that is out of whack?
Just trying to throw somethings out there maybe you didn't think of yet.
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:48 am

Chris - how are they doing now?
Do you give Multimin or BoSe at birth? I am unsure how quickly the Selenium shot will be effective if this is White Muscle Disease (Se deficiency). I was just thinking if you don't give it at birth, and this was the first shot, maybe it takes a few days for it to help. Generally, with WMD, they are "healthy" but have weak large muscles. Used to hear about lambs or calves running & bucking and keeling over. Just a thought.
I know it can be soooo frustrating "not knowing". Hope today is turn-around day for them.
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby Lucky_P » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:54 am

Highly unlikely that salt is the culprit in 7-day old calves on the dam.

Any vetch in pasture or hay?
www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/cahfs/local_reso ... t_2016.pdf
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby Bright Raven » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:18 am

Lucky_P wrote:Highly unlikely that salt is the culprit in 7-day old calves on the dam.

Any vetch in pasture or hay?
http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/cahfs/loc ... t_2016.pdf


Lucky,

I have been all over the Fire Sweep farm even there during hay harvest and moved the rolls out of the field for them. I have seen very little vetch. I have more here.

However, they do purchase most of their hay.
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby Fire Sweep Ranch » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:08 am

Lucky, I have seen no evidence of vetch in my hay. I purchased all of my hay this year, and went to the fields they came out of, and did not see any. The group gets a bale of grass hay and a bale of alfalfa/crab grass every other day. They finish the grass hay first, then eat the alfalfa (I do not drop more hay until it is all cleaned up).
Jeanne - we do not routinely give multi-min. So these two got it after showing symptoms. I asked the vet while he was here if I should give them BoSe, and he said no because I gave the Multi-min already. That is where my thought process is; maybe a few calves are week at 6 days because they are lacking a mineral.... hopefully the blood test will tell us something (however, blood was drawn 48 hours after giving the multi-min so I am not sure how that will affect the test results).
Calf number two, the younger and smaller calf, is doing much better! He was up and running this morning when I went to the barn, the cow's udder is nursed down, and he came up to munch on the hay I put down for the cow. I think we are on the clear side with him. I really think the multi-min helps these calves, it seems that it takes about 3 days to see improvement after giving it (I gave multi-min on Wed, SQ).
Calf two is still wobbly, but he is also dealing with a little bit of milk scours. He has always been a very slow, mellow calf. He was 96 pounds at birth, and reminds me of a surfer dude type personality. But, the cow's udder is soft and when forced he gets up and walks around. His recip dam is a 9 year old cow that has a ton of milk and raises a big one every year.
They are both still in the barn because we received a bunch of freezing rain over the last 24 hours, and I did not want to compound the issues. I will let them out tomorrow, when it should warm up a little and do some thawing....
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:15 am

Chris - If it were me - I would give every calf a multimin shot at birth. I used to use BoSe at birth, but have switched to Multimin at birth. I also give a Vit. A&D shot at birth. Something Cornell Univ always has recommended. I go out of my way to purchase one that can be given SQ.
It sure sounds/looks like it "could" be WMD. Lucky would have more input.
But, SE at birth does not hurt anything, I highly recommend it.
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby Fire Sweep Ranch » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:15 pm

Well, both calves came back clear for BVD, which I expected. Still waiting on the mineral blood work.... both calves are now completely normal, as usual.
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:34 pm

Good to hear they are good now.
But, like you said, the mineral blood work probably won't give you a true picture because you had already given the Multimin.
It makes sense to me that it would take a few days for the SE to be effective if they had WMD.
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby Fire Sweep Ranch » Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:49 pm

So, an update to this thread.
We got the results back today on the mineral panel on the calf. Selenium and Copper were a little high, but I gave Multi Min just a day before the blood test, so that explains that. HOWEVER, the calf was severely iron deficient! It's readings were 18, and a normal bovine ranges from 80-200, according to my vet. Now, that calf if fine and normal, however we had two calves about a week ago and one of them has started exhibiting the same weakness and staggering. My vet recommended getting some iron (like they give baby pigs), and injecting each calf at birth until we figure out why!
These last two calves were given MultiMin at birth, as Jeanne suggested. I was surprised when one of them started the general staggering that I have seen in the past, and in fact Ron (Bright Raven) was insistent I call the vet and get this figured out. I called the office today, and we came up with a plan; giving injectable iron at birth on all calves from now on. 10ML will give 1000 units of iron. Both the week old calves got a shot tonight, 5ml in two locations.
Our mineral does not contain Iron, since iron can bind the absorption of many other minerals. In beef cattle, it is not perceived as a problem. So why the heck am I having an issue with it? I have called our mineral supplier (Vitaferm), the beef specialist from the extension center, and a few others to see if we can figure this out.
It appears the calves are burning through the supply of iron they get from the placental transfer, and not enough iron in the milk to keep them going. Why are the cows milk low in iron?
Does anyone else have any experience in this area? I would certainly like to figure out why this calving season seems to be a bit more challenging than others..... ugh
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby farmerjan » Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:46 pm

Wow, never heard of iron deficiency in calves although it is common in pigs that are not exposed to dirt. Many people actually give their sows some clumps of dirt to help negate the iron deficiency besides iron shots.
It seems to me that I read somewhere that alfalfa can interfere with iron absorption.... So maybe that is what has happened? Very glad that a mineral panel has at least given you a reason and a direction to go from here. I use alfalfa for my dairy nurse cows, but they get a limited amount and then plenty of grass mixed hay as well as sorghum/sudan all free choice. It is something I will definitely keep an eye on.
Thanks for sharing and for taking the time and effort to try to get it figured out. A good lesson for us all to take note of.
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby Boot Jack Bulls » Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:52 pm

Firesweep, we give our goats an Iron bolus every 3 months or so. It is long acting, so it is absorbed over time...maybe something to look at...
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Re: 7 day old calves....

Postby Bright Raven » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:18 am

Iron is the fourth most abundant element on earth and probably the entire universe. It is a key element in the physiological function of flora and fauna.

If your soil is deficient, it is easy to detect. Grasses and plants will not be dark green because iron is a constituent of chlorophyll, the green plant plastids that makes sugars. I have observed that in your part of Missouri, the parent rock is limestone and chert. The weathering of limestone should provide good levels of iron. Plus, your grasses are green. Even when you are dry, I have observed that your grasses stay greener than they do here.

I would look elsewhere for the deficiency of iron. You and I both use Vitafirm Concept-Aide. As we discussed, it is not listed in the 'Guaranteed Analysis' but Ferrous Sulfate is listed in the ingredients.

If iron is deficient in your program, it would have occurred before this fall and winter calving event.

I would look to an infectious agent that is compromising the physiological wellbeing of your calves or a noninfectious disease.

This is going to be an epidemiological puzzle!!!
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