last month before birth questions

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Christina R., Oct 4, 2005.

  1. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    Corabelle is due to freshen on November 1st. Besides going through all the emotions of I can't wait until the calf is here, and oh I can wait until the calf is here because it means chaining myself to the barn again, what should I be doing?

    Here's the bases I'm covering.... she is mostly on grass hay now. There are a few bales that are grass/alfalfa blend that creep in, but for the most part she is on timothy.

    I am still giving her only one scoop (I think it is a 3# scoop) of grain in the am. Do I increase that to one in the am and one in the pm now or during the last 2 weeks?

    What about shots? I didn't give her any before her first calf was born, but I think I remember reading about something to give her about a month out that will prevent the calf from scouring.

    I also remember reading about something like toxemia that goats and cattle get, but I forget the word. I'm assuming now is the time to prevent it. What do I do?

    Thanks for your input!!
     
  2. Goat Freak

    Goat Freak Slave To Many Animals

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    Pregnacy Toxemia?
     

  3. twstanley

    twstanley Well-Known Member

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    Be careful on wanting to overfeed as from what I have read during the last 3 weeks almost all the food goes directly to the calf, overfeeding could make for an overly large calf and a difficult delivery.

    Do NOT give any alfalfa as it is high in calcium and potassium and can cause the cow to have milk fever.

    What I do for our cows is just make sure they have access to good grass pasture or hay, mineral block and water. After that I wait impatiently for nature to take its course.
    http://stephenville.tamu.edu/~butler/foragesoftexas/animaldisorders/milkfever.html

    http://www.cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/research/dairy/TR31.pdf
     
  4. Goat Freak

    Goat Freak Slave To Many Animals

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    Man that just does not sound right twstanley, we feed our doe a crap load of feed before she had her babies and we still ended up with two babies that were on the tiny scale, as far as doelings go.
     
  5. twstanley

    twstanley Well-Known Member

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    I don't know how it applies to goats. I think the article I was recalling was in reference to helping heifers have their first calves and one concern was obese cows/heifers and the problems they have, especially trying to give birth to large calves.
    ....
     
  6. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    I am still going through some of the alfalfa/grass mix, but will turn it over to the grass hay when this 2 wire bail is done. I was going to begin giving her the pm scoop of grain in the pm for the last two weeks only, so she shouldn't be overfed. The problem I was thinking of was pregnancy toxemia, but I was thinking of it by its other name, ketosis. I lookied it up and it seems to be due to poor nutrition, so I'm not going to worry about that. I'll call my vet about the antiscours vaccination. I read about it again; I just hope it didn't need to be administered before now. Other than that, I guess I will try to relax, though I know all of you know this is the most exciting time, even if it is her second calf!!!!
     
  7. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We've never fed our cows grain, they get only grass hay and that's it. Feeding grain will just make the calf a lot bigger and this may lead to calving problems.

    Bobg
     
  8. Philip

    Philip Philip

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    Yes, ad lib hay (not alfalfa/lucerne) and less grain. 60% of a calfs size is formed in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy, so keep the old girl a bit lean. If you look on the net for pictures of cow condition scores, aim for a 4 to 5 score at the most ie ribs and backbone easily seen, pelvis similar (for a dairy cow anyway). We usually aim to have ours 4 to 4.5, as we have had to pull stillborn calves out before today - which is one reason we swithed to AI Lowline semen.
    We never vaccinate for anything and have yet to loss a cow or calf (although we do vaccinate lambs with a 5 in 1 for pulpy kidney, tetanus etc
     
  9. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the input. She's still hating the grass hay, so I guess that's a natural way to keep her leaner. The bale I opened today was 1/2 alfalfa and 1/2 grass. I fed it to her this am, but will open up a few bales this pm for a total grass bale.

    I won't add the extra scoop of grain at night, but I'll keep the am one as the turkey, chickens, goats, and her all dig in as a treat.

    The size should be fine as the sire was a dexter. I just keep imagining that lil one in there in the right position (and praying it is). -3 weeks and counting (or trying not to count???).
     
  10. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    I like to give my calves the pneumonia vaccine that is squirted up their nose. I used to have some trouble with calves having lots of respiratory problems until I started vaccinating, but hardly ever have any, now.
    Another thing that I did this year was to have a tube of Cal-Gel on hand to give the cow as soon as the calf was born, because she has had milk fever in the past. I don't know if she needed it, but she got it anyway, & didn't have any problem this time.