I'm not sure when she was born, sometime between 10pm last night and 10am this morning. When we found her she was already dried off, navel was sticky/dried.
She's alert but too weak to stand up. I immediately milked mama but only got about a pint and a half of thick gooey colostrum. Is that how colostrum is supposed to look/feel? It had the consistency of glue. I ran the bottle out and fed baby. I got a solid pint into her. She wasn't exactly vigorous but she does have a suck reflex.
I fed the calf at 11am. When should I milk her mother and feed her again? I was thinking around 4pm and again at 9pm, or should I do it more frequently?
I can get supplies from the feedstore today. Should I get her some supplemental colostrum? Some kind of selenium supplement or B vites? Anything??
This calf is really important to me and I don't want to lose her. Our last calf was born weak, I had to tube him and he still died. I'm beginning to suspect a selenium deficiency.
Mama is a heifer and seems to be doing really well. I left the baby out in the field and mama is staying close to her, eating a bit and licking her. Mama did really well for her first milking (oh thank the good Lord!) and she seems to be fine. Should I give her some warm molasses water anyway? How about a bottle of CMPK?
Any advice would be so welcome!!! I'm so strung out I've forgotten everything I've read.
That colostrum sounds perfectly normal - it can be very thick and sticky. She needs at least a 1/2 gallon in her first 24 hours, so I'd try every three or four hours.
If you are in a selenium deficient area, that could very well be the problem. I don't know that you can get the injections at the feed store, but it that's the problem, it's certainly worth a weekend call to the vet, or to a bigger farmer who may have it on hand.
Pepper-Angus/Dexter/Jersey 7 yr Mocha (aka Crazy Cow) 6 yr Eva Holstein 6 yr Maggie - HoJo 5 yr Chloe - Jersey/Dexter 5 yr Brie - Jersey - 4 yr Holly - Ho/Angus 2 yr
Post by anneneedscowbell on Nov 25, 2012 15:18:46 GMT -5
I agree. I would get the selenium to make sure. What kind of cow is mama? If she's a Jersey I would give her the fresh cow CMPK just to be sure. My vet said that they are more sensitive and it's just cheaper and easier to give them the fresh cow treatment than to wait and treat a problem. I give it to my girls. Keep trying with the colostrum and keep us updated. Hopefully she is up soon Good luck!
Wife to Jason
Mom to Dennis (9), Lucy (7) Luke (5) and Amanda (1).
Eliza and Roxy the Jerseys, and a few Hereford Beefers.
Thank you. Mama is a Jersey. I milked her again and got another pint of colostrum which the calf drank. I'll go out again at 6 and 9 and do it again. Assuming she gives another pint at 6 and at 9, that will equal a half gallon of colostrum in her first 24 hours. Will that be sufficient or should I give her some powdered colostrum? Or should I plan on milking/feeding again during the night? I gave the calf some Vit E and a selenium capsule. She seems like she's ok, just can't stand. She tries but collapses.
Is it normal for a cow to give such a small amount of colostrum or does that indicate a problem? I'm rubbing her udder after each milking with cayenne/coconut oil/castor oil.
I tried to give her some warm molasses water but she wouldn't drink it. I'll give her the CMPK. She seems to be doing fine. I moved the baby into a stall. I'm going to leave mama out in the pasture since the calf isn't nursing her.
Thank you for saying that. I was wondering if there was something horribly wrong with my cow that she's only giving a pint per milking.
I finally sat down with a cup of tea and my KFC book. Joanne says a calf needs a gallon of colostrum in the first 24 hours. So far she's had 3 pints. If I can't give the powdered colostrum I guess I'll have to keep milking/feeding every 3 hours through the night.
On the plus side my cow has decided she really likes being milked every 3 hours and she comes running into the milking room. I learned on here about training a heifer before calving, by bringing her into the milk room and familiarizing her with the routine and being touched. Taking the time to do that has paid off in spades, as there was no breaking in period. She was used to everything but the actual teat squeezin'.
I think you do need to tend her overnight tonight. Is the calf up yet? Keep feeding her, keep her warm, keep her momma with her so she can lick her and talk to her. The cow will probably lay down with her now that its dark. Well, if its not dark now where you are then once it gets dark. How cold is it?
Last Edit: Nov 25, 2012 19:22:51 GMT -5 by Laura C
Post by jerseylovinliz on Nov 25, 2012 19:37:46 GMT -5
Can you lift the calf? If so try & lift her to a standing position, straddle her & wrap your arms around her belly/chest. You be her support as she figures out walking. Sometimes when they're born weak they just don't have the extra energy to get up, fall down, get up, face plant in the dirt, get up, fall down & so on. If you can hold her while she gets her sea legs she might be good to go.
Keep her out of the wind & comfy. She doesn't need to waste calories trying to stay warm (but don't hang a heat lamp 4 inches from her head). Also, try to set her in a different spot than you found her in. It's no fun laying in your own urine & not being able to move. Her umbilical cord can also get infected if she's laying in pee/manure.
When you feed her make sure she's looking way up. When they're laying down often times it's hard to get them to tilt their head up.
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from any direction.
She's in a 10x10 stall. It's the only one I have. Is that big enough to put mama in with her? I have a heat lamp in there but it's further than 4 inches over her head, lol. It's going to be down around 30 degrees tonight. Should I put a calf jacket on her?
I've been following the KFC book's directions for feeding her, by straddling her and making her tip her head back to drink. (SO glad I have the book to look this stuff up when I'm in a panic.) She stood for a short moment tonight as we kind of held her up. Oh man, I hope she makes it!
Post by jerseylovinliz on Nov 25, 2012 20:11:46 GMT -5
I was sort-of being sarcastic w/the heat lamp comment lol. She needs to be warm but don't cook her is all I meant. It sounds like you're doing great!
Awesome that you're making her stand for milk! The last thing she needs is to aspirate milk & get pneumonia.
Are there any dairies or big cattle operations close by? They might know if y'all are selenium (or whatever) deficient. Does she seem to be getting stronger or just hanging out? When she stands do her legs look normal & seem to work normally?
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from any direction.
If you gave her a selenium tablet then you don't want to give her any more. Too much will kill her. Keep in mind that a first calf heifer is NOT going to give as much as a seasoned cow. If at all possible, hold her up and let her nurse on her mother. The milk comes out of the teat at 101 degrees and will keep the baby warm from the inside out. If you are bottle feeding it is important to heat the milk to this temp. Heating colostrum is very tricky and will scorch if you are not careful. Congrats on the new baby!
Post by kentuckymomma on Nov 25, 2012 22:23:51 GMT -5
When I am bottlefeeding, I warm the milk with hot water to avoid burning or scorching. I put the milk in a ziploc bag, fill a ice cream bucket full of hot water, and let the bag sit in the water for about 5 mins or so. It works really well. Hope you, your momma cow and baby are doing well. I'll be waiting to hear how they are in the morning.
4 children 8,6,4,18 months
They are my pride and joy.
Sweetie~ my pet Holstein cow
Nan, Nellie,millie,chocolate milk,whitey~nubian/pygmy goats
Keira, Misty Kitty, and Kitty Kitty~ the mousers
13 yo blue beagle Sadie Bell~ RIP
Sunday Beauty~weiner/mix rescued from certain death
Ben our fluffy dog. we found him on the side of the road
Chickens- Lavender Orpingtons, Buff Orpingtons, Blue, black and buff Cochin Bantams
It may take a few days for her milk to *really* come in. Some heifers are slower than others. The more you milk, the more she'll make to keep up with the demand.
How much does your baby weigh? My last calf was 30# and so a gallon of colostrum would of been the max 'dosage' for her. (But it's a good rule of thumb to go by.) A pint at a time is better than none at all, or even less.
I know you are tired, but you're doing a good job--keep it up! Janene
Occasional steer for the freezer
Dogs, cats, chickens, etc!
*~*Proud Mother of 2 Military Sons*~*
A Grandma now, too!
Gosh thanks everybody. Just came back in from the last feeding. Twice she stood up with a wee bit of assistance and stood by herself for a few moments. Even took a few lurching, wobbly steps around the stall. Looks like nothing is structurally wrong, just a bit weak.
I put mama in the stall with her for the night. So far she's had 5 pints of colostrum. Or 2.5 quarts. Is that enough or should we still plan on going out a couple times during the night and do the milking/feeding routine every few hours?
Hubby was not too thrilled with that idea (we have to get our little girl off to school at 6:30 and we're exhausted already) but he's willing. I just want to make sure she gets enough colostrum.
I'm terrified that I'm holding her neck at the wrong angle or I'll give her too much or not enough or it won't be the right temperature. I don't think I was this stressed out with my own babies.
One more question, I've been using a homemade cayenne/coconut oil/castor oil, peppermint oil on her udder. Will that burn the baby's mouth? Should I make up another batch and leave out the cayenne?
Thanks so much. It's such a blessing to have a place to ask questions on a Sunday! Nobody around here has dairy cows, just beef. In fact, our 4H does a summer camp every year and they bring the campers out here to see where milk comes from. I'll ask our extension agent about the selenium. I did find a map that shows we're in a deficient area. www.horseguard.com/selenium-org-vs-sel.pdf I'll probably need to order some special minerals.
Oddly enough I don't think the cayenne worries them much. At least when I used it on a ewe the lambs had orange around their mouths the next time I walked past and seemed quite happy. I'm sure I've seen mention here that calves aren't bothered either. The peppermint oil I'm not so sure about. You could always leave it off the teats and just massage it into the bag.
Take heart, unlike human babies this one should only need help for the first few nights, if that. After she's standing and eating on her own her mum should take care of the rest.
Big Moo (dexter cow), Little Moo (dexter steer), Jack (lowline steer), Ziggy (lowline x dexter steer), Flora, Di & Daphne (lowline cows), Sieka (lowline x jersey heifer), Erg (lowline calf). A dozen sheep (dorper and awassi x white dorper), two cats, Willy the merino lamb and Alvin & Poppy the Amazing Maremmas.
Hos is she this morning? It sounds like you were in for a busy night but it will be well worth it!
raising a family of 2 boys with my wonderful husband
creating a homestead
currently without a cow :(
one freezer full of beef
a coop full of hens
meaties heading to the freezer for winter
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a Maremma pup
one old cat and 2 kitties
She made it through the night! I was dreading going in to look because she didn't have any appetite at all at the last feeding.
We got up a couple times during the night and milked and fed her another pint. She can get to her feet with some assistance and stagger around her stall. This morning she walked out and into the barnyard to stare at the chickens.
Mom can't figure out what to do with her. She just keeps sniffing and mooing at her. Finally I put her in the stanchion and put the baby to her teat. Baby wasn't interested. So I milked her out and fed her a bottle. She doesn't have a lot of enthusiasm for eating.
She's still weak and shaky. But she CAN walk by herself. We let her wander around the milking room and sniff everything. She's curious and I'm taking that as a positive sign.
I found an article that states what I think our problem is: "Metabolic disorders. The most common metabolic disorders in newborn or young calves are white muscle disease and weak calf syndrome. White muscle disease is actually a selenium deficiency which results in failure of the heart and diaphragm muscles. Prevention includes proper selenium supplementation of the cow before calving and an injection of selenium solution at birth. Many veterinarians are now recommending injections of selenium to newborn calves. "
I'm pretty sure we have white muscle disease. I need to find a mineral supplement that addresses that.
I gave her a 100 mcg capsule of selenium yesterday morning. Should I give her another today? What about vitamin E? I gave her 800mg of vit E yesterday morning. Should I give her more today? Or should I call a vet to come give her a shot or is it too late for that since she's now 24 hours old?
Mom only gave the usual pint this morning. But she was locked in the stall all night and didn't drink hardly anything from the water we put in there for her.
This morning we put her back in the pasture and she took a long drink from her trough. Hopefully she'll eat and drink all day and her milk will increase. And hopefully the calf's appetite will increase.
I plan to go out every hour or so and get her up and walking to strengthen her muscles.
Should I keep milking and feeding her every 3 hours or lengthen that out? I wonder if lengthening out the time between feedings would increase her appetite?
Post by kellyhensing on Nov 26, 2012 10:24:42 GMT -5
You can get a BoSe shot from a vet. -Kelly
Wife to a converted part-time farmer (a true partner)
Mom to 3 boys (13,10,8)
Ari,Casey & Lindsay-Jersey heifers
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barnmom: WOW There is so much reading on milkers
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