Frustration.

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by dosthouhavemilk, Feb 25, 2005.

  1. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We lost another heifer calf. :waa:

    It finally looked like maybe we would have a heifer year again... We had seven bull calves born from when Freedom's Song was born on 9/2/04 until Marmalade was born 1/17/05. Beautiful heifer calf out of Lady and Impuls (236J3). Lady's first Jersey heifer calf and we figured we would lose her this year because of high counts. Okay, so the calf's front legs didn't look so hot and she couldn't stand up but surely she just needed some time. We lost her six days after she was born. :( She was formed improperly so we just assumed that was her problem.
    We then had a bull calf born that was too weak to even stand up and he lived less than 24 hours. However, two hours after he was born Madelin was born 2 days overdue. She was Marmalade's half sister (split straw). She is alive and healthy and fine. We had another bull calf born five days later and he is fine and dandy..no problems. Then Sidsel calved with a bull calf that came out bellering and he is doing great.

    So far, so good.
    Duchess calved 8 days early (she was due today). This calf was out within five minutes of her front hooves showing. Dad was milking and he was dashing around trying to get the calf to stay where Duchess could clean her off. This spunky heifer was up and moving within minutes. Crawled up the manger away from momma and in front of other cows. Healthy, got her colostrum after milking and was doing beautifully. She was put int eh middle of the abrnw here it was warm and where I tripped over her everytime I fed goats...or rather she butted around looking for milk. She was drinking fine...until two days ago. She was loose so we treated her with Sav-A-Calf. White scours, not something we see very often..and it is extremely rare for us to lose calves. Our mortality rate in calves used to be next to nothing and generally if we lost a calf it was because they were weak and not because we didn't try. Her scours were stiffening up, but she was dead by morning. She wasn't quite a week old yet. This was a full sister to Adia who was born 2/2/04 from the same dam and sire so it shouldn't have been time of year or breeding. Adia is fine....Queenie is dead. Dad thinks taht whatever she was fighting was beat but that as it died it caused her to go toxic and die. Anybody dealt with anything like this? We dealt with something similar but it was mastitis. That was over four years ago. You had to treat the animal within 12 hours or she was dead in 24. We lost eight cows to that, and some never fully recovered even with the antibiotic treatment. Dad did figure out how to treat it and we lost a lot of quarters but managed to save the cows.

    Now I am scared about Guri and Anya calving in the next couple of weeks. We don't know why a perfectly healthy calf was dead in 24 hours with no real warning.

    Rest in Peace, Queenie.
    [​IMG]
    Taken the afternoon after she was born.
     
  2. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Oh, Roseanna, what a shame!

    What a little cutie she was, too. :(
     

  3. DaleK

    DaleK Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you might have a problem in the barn. Pressure wash and disinfect the pens they're calving in, and make sure the calves are out of the barn as soon as they're fed. We had the same sort of problem for the 6 months before we built our hutches, then practically 0 mortality for 5 years since.
     
  4. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    I sure hate to hear about your loss. I'm sure you did everything humanly possible. If your bulls calves are living but you are losing heifers, it's just Karma.

    Things will turn around.
     
  5. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This calf was born while Duchess was in her stanchion. We have a "calving pen" around back but dad didn't figure she would calve for another couple of days. The calves are raised in the barn and we don't use hutches. The pens are cleaned out regularlry, but of course, since it is the middle of winter and our manure spreader needs replaced and the cows are in, the calf pens haven't been cleaned down to the cement in a while. The ditches need cleaned before the calf pens get tackled and space is an issue. She was in a clean pen though, as was the other heifer calf we lost.
    As soon as the weather breaks enough, the goats are out of the barn and I will be cleaning all the pens we have in there. It is fairly crowded back there and I am afraid it may have had to do with not so good circulation but she was in an area that wasn't too bad.

    Hopefully things will look up this spring, after we have a chance to move animals around. We have 20 goats in there (ten are babies)..with more on the way. Next year, no kids before March! We will have all the space in the world for the calves that should be coming in in early winter. *sigh* I loathe winter.

    I hope so, Haggis....we went two years years one time with three Jersey heifer calves born (about five jerangus heifer calves born) and could only keep two of them because the third's mother died of clinical Johne's one month after she was born. She had to be slaughtered.

    We don't have a whole lot of animals calve each year and we generally do not lose calves. Only ones born outside and even then it takes a lot for us to lose them.
     
  6. DaleK

    DaleK Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately once you start having problems like this with calves in a barn, it's almost impossible to break the cycle without getting the calves out, either into hutches or a completely different building. Is there another barn, or a corner of the mow that you can use?
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Your facility is shared by too many animals too often. You need a rest period between the times the areas are occupied.
     
  8. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Considering we have not had very many issues in the past I would have to disagree with your assessment, agmantoo.
    Admittedly, right now it is a bit crowded, but as a general rule there is more than adequate space for all the animals under our care and generally lots of space around back not even in use.
    Since we average so few heifers each year and they are generally moved out of the barn at around four to six months old, space isn't a huge issue.

    It is a dairy barn and there will always be animals in it at one point or another during the day. There is no way to avoid having animals in there.
    Many of the pens currently being used for goats and calves have not been used since last winter..and they were thoroughly cleaned out last spring. Pens have been rotated throughout this winter as well. The only does that are still in the pen they went into in December are Danielle and Liliana. The only calf still in her orignal pen from the beginning of winter is Calliope and she has other issues that are not related to the current potential problem.
    As soon as there is a break in the weather at least half the goats are headed back to the goat pen, Calliope will probably go outside and that will leave one heifer calf, a handful of does and their babies, and whatever calves are born to Guri and Anya. The two bull calves are headed to new homes in the first couple weeks of March as well.

    Dale, currently it is far too cold to move any calf outside of the barn and nowhere to move them even if they could handle it. We have had more rain than our area could handle in the last year, including quite a bit in January and the ground is saturated. They are currently in an area that provides great ventilation and fresh air. None of the three calves are showing any problems. I am hoping it was simply something that Queenie picked up in her little area, which will not be used for another calf.

    I just hope Spring gets here soon. I am sick of this cold.
     
  9. DaleK

    DaleK Well-Known Member

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    There's no such thing as too cold if they're dry and well-bedded. I live in Ontario. Newborn calves here go outside as soon as they're dry, even at -45, and I've never lost one from being too cold even after putting over 300 calves through hutches over the years.
     
  10. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    you have a barn '' bug'' that is killing your calves. Probably a form of E. Coli. The inability to create a new area that is free of this bug will continue to expose your young calves and the probability of them continuing to die exists. Inside the barn you do not have the sterilizing cabability provided by the sun. How long this bug can hang on in your facility remains to be seen. Unless you can afford to suffer these losses you are going to have to come up with an alternative housing situation. The outside hutches on clean ground are the best solution. You could build a couple of A frame hutches for temporary use and bow a cattle panel around the front for a pen.
     
  11. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I talked to dad.
    If we lose another calf we will go ahead and put them upstairs if we have to. He already had a course of action decided on when after we lost Queenie. We already have three new does up there that are being quarantined. It has been 20 years since this farm has had a problem with scours and it has been the same system in place in those 20 years. Hopefully, we don't have a bug but rather something else wrong. If we do, we will find a way to house the calves elsewhere temporarily. The other three calves we still have were all in the pen that Marmalade was in, and Queenie..well she is a mystery because she was in an area that had not seen a calf in well over a year now.

    The biggest problem is that there is no solid area on this farm right now. We have had way too much water in the past couple of years, so finding solid land to build hutches on in the next week (especially with another snow storm moving in) is just about impossible. We will resort to putting them upstairs if it comes to it. We are in the foothills and there are streames on hilltops that dad has never seen in his lifetime.

    Thankfully we only have two heifers due in the next month (the first and the twelveth). Then not another calf due until 4/18/05. By then the pens will have been cleaned out and most of the animals out of the barn. That would leave Madelin, the two calves from Guri and Anya, and a goat kid or two. Lots of space around back and the barn will be open and breathing again.

    Thanks for all the input.