How long til I stop worrying?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by countrygirl528, May 3, 2004.

  1. I am new here, but have already found some great information. Thanks so much. I raise horses and cattle, but have never had a bottle calf before and I am so full of questions.

    I have a little angus heifer about about 8-10 days old and a little angus bull about 3 days old. The heifer was started on a bottle (had a bit of mom's colostrum and then some packaged) and has been on a bottle til about 2 days ago. We are weaning calves and had two gentle mommas, so decided to put the babies on them. The little bull had momma's colostrum and then packaged and only one bottle before putting him on the cow.

    OK, my question. How long before they are out of the woods as far as scours are concerned? I have never had any worries about this until my two babies and I would be crushed if I lost them. I am a nervous wreck as I have never doen this before and I am always sniffing and lifting tails, etc. It is time for pasture and if mommas take them, I need to turn them out in a day or two, but don't want to find them dead somewhere.

    Thanks for your help.

    Beth
     
  2. bumpus

    bumpus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,280
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Right Here
    .
    If the cows are still making good milk and are willing to take the baby calves you may not have to much trouble.

    If you have a small pasture where you can keep an eye on them for a while you are better off. The closer they are to the calves at all times the better.

    Then you will know if they are nursing the calves and they will no walk off and leave them to die.

    The calves will lay down and sleep a lot at that young age and mother cow will graze to far away to find them because they are not theirs.

    After the cows have become used to the new calves ( say a couple of weeks ) then you can turn them out to a larger pasture.

    With natural cows milk there should not be scours as long as they can get back to mother cow.

    Just make sure that the new mother will take care of thwe new calf first.
    .
     

  3. Thanks so much. I am such a worry wart. I am currently keeping them in the barn together. The mamma with the youngest baby is doing fine, no butting or kicking when he nurses. The other mamma is a little different. I have to stand there while she nurses, or there is a lot of kicking and pushing baby away. I do that about three times a day. The biggest dilemma now is that I have to be out of town for a couple days and my brother-in-law is going to do chores. He thinks that the babies only need food twice per day. I guess one day of that won't hurt too bad.

    Thanks again!

    Beth
     
  4. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,489
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    I worry about scours for the first month or so. They can still scour after that, but that has never been common on my farm and the calves don't seem to get as sick, as fast.

    Calves can scour, even on their own mom's milk. It's all about e-coli and rota/corona virus, not what they are eating.

    I do agree that you need to keep them in close quarters for quite some time to be sure those cows are truly going to mother the calves. It's one thing to allow it to nurse and another to go hunting for it to feed it. The cows might let them nurse, but simply walk away from them and that's that.

    To check for scours, all you really need to do it take a look at their rear end. If they are scouring, there will be feces on their butt that will let you know.

    Jena
     
  5. Well, I can see a bit on their bottom, but is is brownish. And it is dried. I had a catle man take a look at them and he said not to worry. They both jump and kick around and seem to enjoy life. If they scour, will they change their behavior? Should I take some preventative measures? Or treat them even if they don't have scours?

    Thanks

    Beth
     
  6. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,489
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    When I've had scouring calves, the first sign in the diarrhea. If they are not treated at that point, they will act sick...lethargic, ears down, stumbling, head down. Once they get there though, it is an emergency situation.

    One easy check you can do is to grab a handful of skin on their neck to form a tent. If it takes more than a second for the tent to go flat again, they are dehydrated, which is what causes the deaths from scours anyways.

    The biggest preventative measure is to keep them out of mud and manure as that is where they can pick up e-coli. If the cows have dirty udders, they can get it that way too (No, I do not wash my cows udders and have very few scour problems).

    I would not treat them in a preventative manner unless there was a good reason to believe they would get scours. Earlier this year I had to pull a calf out who was born in deep mud/manure. I treated him immediately since he was laying in that mess for a while before I found him. He did scour, but one more treatment and he was fine.

    Jena
     
  7. PezzoNovante

    PezzoNovante Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    75
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2002
    Location:
    Texas
    Not to alarm you, but I just lost a calf that weighed over 400 pounds. Sometimes they die in spite of the vaccinations. Weather plays a part, too. Alternating hot and cold/wet days stresses 'em.

    Good luck!