Another drying off question....

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by OD, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    I was glad to see some of the answers on the other "drying off" thread, because I have been wondering about drying my cow off before she has her calf, too. I'm not sure when she is due, as she was pasture-bred, but it could be as soon as June. I have always dried her off at least 2 months before calving in the past, but the last calf she had, she almost died from milk fever. That was April of '03, & I didn't let her have a calf last year, but kept calves on her to try to keep her giving milk as long as possible before calving again.
    I had asked about how to prevent a recurrence of the milk fever this time, & was told to keep her thin & keep her giving milk as long as possible.
    Anyway, here's the problem. She is nursing a very good registered bull calf that is only 6 weeks old, & I would like for her to nurse him as long as possible, but don't want her own calf to miss out on colostrum.
    So what do y'all think? Should I go ahead & dry her off & maybe stunt the good calf, or not & have her own calf not getting colostrum? And if I don't dry her off, will she be less likely to have milk fever again?
     
  2. Momof8kiddoes

    Momof8kiddoes Well-Known Member

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    What was the point about milk fever and keeping her milking? Ive never heard of keeping her milking for that reason, so Im curious as to how that works to ward off fever.

    One idea, if it is possible-any way to get a milk goat? Ive heard (someone correct me if Im wrong here!) that you can put a calf on a goat, and then just dry up your cow.
    Everything Ive done so far has been reading, so I dont have experience, but maybe someone else will be able to give you better insights...Mary F.
     

  3. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure why it is supposed to help, but that is what they told me when I asked if there was something I could do to keep her from having it again. I'm really not sure what causes it, except that it has something to do with calcium. I got 3 tubes of Cal-Gel to give her when she calves. I really need to do some research so I'll have a better idea how to keep it from happening again.
    I'd love to have a milk goat, but we would have to do too much fence fixing & building to keep a goat in.
     
  4. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    You need to dry the cow off at least a couple of months before the other calf is born or you can cause problems with that pregnancy. If the calf is 6 weeks old he shoud be eating by now and would probably do fine with a good calf feed. If you wanted to you could always bottle feed for another month or so. I always wean my bottle calves about 6 weeks anyway, though.
     
  5. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    od you can most time wean a calf at 6 weeks IF THEY ARE READY TO BE WEANED...what i mean by that is eating some kind feed at least 2 pounds twice a day thats my rule .....most just say 2 pounds a day but if you can slowly cut back on the milk sucking time....the calf will start eating more feed......you will need to feed for a long time but well worth it......i would have her vet pregancy checked get better idea when it is due....john
     
  6. SF

    SF New Member

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    Milk fever is generally a result of a calcium deficiency and will generally be found during the first two weeks following the birth of a new calf. It will usually occur in a heavy milking cow that has a fast growing calf. When a cow gets milk fever she may go down. If so, you've got a very short time to get some calcium in her, usually done by IV into the juglar. If treatment is not done immediately, death will generally occur within a few hours. Prevention is key. Keep out some good minerals and you should be okay. Just because she had milk fever in the past does not mean she will get it again. Just keep the minerals available. A good mineral/salt block should do fine.