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Discussion Starter #1
Hey yall, I have a Jersey cow that is about 5 1/2 years old and is starting to look really skinny. When I had the vet come a few weeks ago he suggested we give her a few more pounds of grain so that would bump it up to 12 lbs. a day during milking and free choice alfalfa and our grass hay. While we did that she seemed to have not want the grain much anymore, and ate her alfalfa more but didn't quite finish it all. We stopped giving her hay since we moved her to another pasture but doesn't eat as much. Our bull that she's with and sheeps eat like crazy but for some reason she isn't eating a lot like they do. We gave her some grass hay again today and she ate it so we might just feed her hay separated from the bull and sheeps. Any of yall may have a clue why this is going on or what I can do about it? Also she is about 5 months into having a calf so we would think her milk production is dropping since were not getting much milk outta her like we use too. Any thoughts? Thanks yall - Ivan
 

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No. He came to check on her teats, she had cowpox and she wasn't as skinny as she is now. He didn't prescribe anything to have her put on weight besides giving her a bit more grain. Btw the grain is 14% protein which is what the vet and my A.I. tech. recommended me to feed her during milking.
 

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Don't know if this is it, but one sign of ketosis is less interest in grain.

They basically are putting out more energy in milk than they are consuming, so they try to start trying to convert fat to energy. If too much fat is used, it isn't processed properly, and you get ketone bodies, which are toxic and reduce appetite, and gives their breath the smell of acetone.

Anyway, its a bit complicated, but somehow need to get a good energy source in them.

Usually occurs early in lactation, but some can have later.


http://www.thecattlesite.com/diseaseinfo/194/acetonaemia-ketosis


http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/met..._in_cattle/overview_of_ketosis_in_cattle.html


"In cows maintained in confinement stalls, reduced feed intake is usually the first sign of ketosis. If rations are offered in components, cows with ketosis often refuse grain before forage. In group-fed herds, reduced milk production, lethargy, and an “empty” appearing abdomen are usually the signs of ketosis noticed first."
 

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No. He came to check on her teats, she had cowpox and she wasn't as skinny as she is now. He didn't prescribe anything to have her put on weight besides giving her a bit more grain. Btw the grain is 14% protein which is what the vet and my A.I. tech. recommended me to feed her during milking.
Ok, you have a dairy cow who is being milked, 5 1/2 months pregnant, and is losing weight. In the first place, there is nothing the vet can prescribe to put weight on a cow - that is all feed and management. Secondly, 14% protein is not nearly high enough for a milking dairy cow about to enter her 3rd trimester of pregnancy. I'm sure you are aware that dairy breeds put EVERYTHING they get feed wise towards producing milk. If she were mine, I would transition her to at least 16% protein grain, and 18% would be better. I would also lose the grass, grass/hay and transition her to very good to excellent straight alfalfa hay and also give some very serious thought to drying her off so she doesn't have so many demands being placed on her and can improve her condition prior to calving. How long do you usually give her between drying off and calving?
 

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I read it as she's had a calf now for 5 months, and milk production is dropping off... not that she's pregnant. A bit unclear....

If she is pregnant, then yes, you gotta get her some better hay. If she's not, you might want to talk to the vet about the drop off in milk production (are you sure you are completely milking her out each day?)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Msscamp, she's not pregnant at the moment, sadly. The people that we got her from A.I.ed her twice and what the A.I. Tech told the ex owners was not to sell her right away since moving to a new environment would somehow cause her to lose her calf. The A.I. gentleman is my A.I. tech. as well so he knew the cow so when I called him about it, that's what he told me. The vet checked if she was pregnant the day I had him come out, now we do feed her alfalfa hay, I wasn't very clear on what we fed her but we feed her alfalfa free choice and feed her grass hay throughout the day since she was with our heifers.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
And I believe she had her calf in April because they bred her in July and I didn't buy her til August. So she's been in milk for about 6 months and yes, we do milk her out everyday.
 

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She needs unlimited access to hay. A variety is good, to keep her appetite up.

How is her manure - runny, liquid, firm, too firm? You could consider adding soaked beet pulp to her grain at feeding time. The beet pulp will help her rumen digest the grain slower (to absorb more nutrients).

If you get a milking Jersey cow that's thin, it's going to take MONTHS to "fatten" her back up to a healthy weight.... Even if she's "healthy" by all other standards, it takes time.

Also, make sure she always has access to clean water and salt (preferably loose mineral salt).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for your input Rosalind. So after reading about ketosis, I think she may have that. Her coat isn't as nice as it use to be, she does have quite more saliva, and yet doesn't eat grain or her alfalfa as much. Is there anything I can give her to help her besides giving her unlimited hay? Should I stop giving her grain and alfalfa?
 

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Add 2 cups of regular human type oil. Soybean, canola or corn to her feed. And bump the protine to no less then 16%. I have a super thin jersey girl too. I have had her almost 3 mts she has hardly put on a lb. I tired to milk her less and she ended up with mastitis. You may need to run a course of antibiotics as she is going to catch everything under the sun with being so thin. My girls sure has including cow pox.
 

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I would consider short lactation periods. I am drying up at 6 months because I lack the knowledge, experience, ability, and skill to keep a cow at peak production for 9-10 months. I bought a second cow instead and have a spring freshener and a fall freshener. (Actually have that tandem x2, but that is beside the point.)

I am still trying to figure out my pastures, how the cows react to stretches of bad weather, how and when to pull the calf, my own inconsistent work schedule, etc.

My spring cows look and produce their worst at about 4 months, which happens around Labor Day. Everything is hot and crunchy and the free choice hay starts to be THE food stuff. For the second straight year, I have picked that period to switch to once-a-day milking with great success. Then a nice September rain puts everything back in order for the fall calvers. After the fall calving cows pop, I start looking for a good weekend to dry up the spring girls. I still don't have a good read on winter to write the script for the fall girls. I just know milking in January sucks and production isn't great.

I know this though: when March rolls around, I am not concerned about the spring calving cows or their calf. The 6 month on/6 off pattern works very well for my personal abilities.
 

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I read it as she's had a calf now for 5 months, and milk production is dropping off... not that she's pregnant. A bit unclear....

If she is pregnant, then yes, you gotta get her some better hay. If she's not, you might want to talk to the vet about the drop off in milk production (are you sure you are completely milking her out each day?)
Yes, you are right and I apologize for my error. :eek:
 

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Liver acidosis ? "Related health problems may occur from an animal having acute acidosis. Rumen lining may be damaged from the sudden drop in acidity leaving the lining of the stomach to be damaged, causing rumenitis, or an infection of the rumen wall. Inflammation also occurs in the abomasum and intestinal walls, often destroy the villi that are responsible for nutrient absorption from the digesta.
  • Poor feed efficiency, slow growth, poor weight gain or a drop in milk production is often a result of this inflammatory damage."

I would also wonder about hardware disease.

Do hope she is back on her feed!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So as of yesterday, we separated her in her own pen and fed her some alfalfa, and she ate it but didn't finish it all, and as of today we fed her some grain and she ate it all up. We've been giving her hay & alfalfa throughout the day. I'm going to try the beet pulp feed and see how that works. Speaking of the beet pulp, should I get shredded beet pulp or pelleted? Thanks for the inputs yall.
 

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Whether you buy shredded or pelleted beet pulp is a matter of personal preference and/or what is available in your area. I use pelleted with my goats when necessary because it works better for me than shredded.
 

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[/QUOTE]
I would also wonder about hardware disease.

Do hope she is back on her feed![/QUOTE]

yes i would definitely give her a magnet, pretty cheap and easy with no real side effects.
 

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This girl really needs a higher protein grain, at least a 16%. Sounds like to me, she is thin because of lack of higher quality feed. Instead of upping lbs of lower protein feed (which can cause her to be acidotic), I'd increase the quality of her grain, and feed her unlimited hay, even if she has access to pasture.

Here's a good website that shows the nutritional requirements of a lactating dairy cow.

And it also wouldn't hurt to have her tested for Johnnes.
 
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