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Old 09/28/09, 05:17 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NC
Posts: 978
retarded calf???

I know that may not be the politically correct term but we have a calf, a steer, almost a year old...that is just sloooooo.....he was never with the group of calves...always last to the gate to be moved...and when all the others are walking right in the gate to the feed or hay...he takes a right turn and goes up the road...he certainly can run and race around..doesn't seem to have any physical issue....he is also the calf that has had a bad case of warts...our only one to show any signs of warts...the others are slick and in super condition....all of our other calves have gone to market, we kept this one to grow out for the freezer...I have him on a good mineral, some feed top dressed with calf manna and lots of green grass....the warts are going away...he has been wormed and I am hoping that shortly he will lose his fuzzy appearance and get slicker....however, he still seems slow....he is not deaf, I have tested that...his eyes are bright and he eagerly waits for the bucket...but never rushes over to the trough....just stands there, and eventually wanders that way..he is not afraid of me, and will eat pears from my hand....he just seems a few marbles short...has anyone else had experience with a calf like this? his mother's last calf was fine, no issues at all...she is expecting again...soon so I hope we will get a good one this time...just thought I would see if anyone else has dealt with this..thanks..
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Old 09/28/09, 07:44 PM
gone-a-milkin's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: MO
Posts: 10,705
Yes, that happens. He may or may not be 'developmentally disabled', as they say. It seems like every so often there will be a dummy, my experience is that they are always bull calves too...a lot of times those 'slow' calves are the ones that give up and die, very early on. Almost like they are too dumb to breathe (that is an exageration, mostly). Watch out that he doesn't get into a sticky position and get himself hurt. Had one last year that drowned in the pond.(!?) Still dont know how, it was not very deep.

It sounds like you are doing all you can for him, making sure he is healthy. Maybe now with the other calves gone, he will pick up some condition.

Try not to worry too much. I dont think it was anything you did wrong. It sounds like he is a good candidate for the freezer.
Cows may not be smarter than People, but some cows are smarter than some people.
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Old 09/28/09, 07:58 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NC
Posts: 978
well it did occur to me that with out the others here to sort of lead him around, that I will keep him where I can keep an eye on him...he is the one who stands in the water trough....not deep enough to drown in...he is at least 500 pounds so if he has made it this far I hope he can make it to the freezer...he is bright and perky just acts dumber than dirt sometimes...but he is getting the special treatment now, hand fed pears and calf manna on top of some sweet feed....I won't sign him up for special classes yet, I just wondered if others had noticed that some calves seem to be missing a few cells....thanks...
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Old 09/28/09, 09:12 PM
willow_girl's Avatar
Very Dairy
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Dysfunction Junction
Posts: 14,609
Having encountered (literally) thousands of dairy cattle, I can attest to the fact some are noticeably smarter than others.

As with humans, it's the far ends of the bell curve that seem to cause the most problems. LOL
"I love all of this mud," said no one, ever.
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Old 09/28/09, 09:55 PM
Dariy Calf Raiser
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: missouri
Posts: 2,004
If you feed me pears by your hand I might act a little dumb too

one question

do you peal them also

lol lolol
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Old 09/29/09, 07:41 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NC
Posts: 978
nope, no peeling of the pears....I do cut them in half for him...we will see what we see with this one....the good thing is he is calm and easy to be around...I just want him to eat, and be happy......he doesn't need to know now what his future holds..
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Old 09/29/09, 10:46 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 24
I know that this is probably a different situation but we had a calf last year that acted the same way he was different than any of the others he was kind of a loner and he acted goofy we got them up to worm them and i noticed he had warts growing between his horns it almost looked like he was trying to grow another horn but they eventually went away and he was really fuzzy and looked terrible but as he grew he slicked up and the warts went away and he still acts a little different but we raise rodeo cattle and we had 7 young bulls and when we bucked them he was one of the two better ones out of the bunch and preformed and did awesome so we were glad we kept him and didn't send him to sale barn like we had planned because like he you said he just acted "retarded" but maybe this is something that your steer will to grow out of.
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