Limping Calf

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by BJ, Aug 8, 2004.

  1. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    We have a 3 wk old angus calf that is favoring his right front leg. Appears foot is sore..but may be the leg. What's the best way to catch this calf & check his foot & leg? Separate from mom? Can we hold down a 100 lb calf or is that impossible? This is our first calf and we would like to save the cost of vet trip charge if possible by having a look ourselves. Any and all suggestions appreciated.
     
  2. NRS Farm

    NRS Farm Well-Known Member

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    BJ I think you will find the calf to be pretty hard to handle without a gate or better yet a head gate. I'm guessing you do not have a head gate so I would recommend getting him in a small pen if possible, then using a gate to make a V type catch chute. Have one person hold the gate and stand behind him and then another can look at his leg "through" the gate. Be careful though for they can give a swift kick behind them! Also be careful if you put your arms through the gate to examine his leg. This is the method I used for years until I could afford a head gate. You will find that they can run pretty fast and put up a pretty good fight at 3 wks even with a sore leg.
     

  3. NRS Farm

    NRS Farm Well-Known Member

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    I forgot to add...yes do separate him from his mother...cows get pretty protective when you mess with a young calf. DO NOT try to tackle him etc. with his mother nearby...he will bawl and she will come running full steam!!!
     
  4. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    Thanks NRS Farm for the response. We do have a head gate, however, we thought he would be too small to use it. We also thought it might hurt him if he were to be scared and start pulling & thrashing about. We are not quite sure how we can get to his foot or leg to see if he is in our head gate....the angle for view may be blocked by brace post. But we know we must somehow check to see if he has stepped on a thorn or something else...or injured himself in another way.
     
  5. NRS Farm

    NRS Farm Well-Known Member

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    BJ, check out my PM (Private Message).
     
  6. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    This is what I do with calves that are a manageable size (less than 300 pounds or so). I get calf and momma in the barn. Separate mom from calf (mom in another room of the barn where she can't get me). I lasso the calf with a rope (don't forget your leather gloves!). I am not a cowgirl...I just chase the calf around until I can get the rope over it's head, then hang on. I can generally hold my ground by holding the rope around my hips and using my body as a post. Once the calf settles down a bit, I get the rope around a post or through an eye-bolt and reel him in. Tie him up short and you can have a look.

    Another way is to simply grab him and flip him. Grab the front leg near the body and grab a handful of skin in front of the back leg and heave him up and over on his side. Sit on him and have a look. I can usually flip them for the first month or so. Again...confine mom so she can't come get you. I have never been able to hog-tie a calf well enough to make it work, but a rope around one leg can keep him on the ground or put him back there in short order.

    In this case, I would tie the calf so you can get some water on his foot to see what is going on. Many times a foot will start oozing after 15 minutes of water on it and you can tell if it's infected inside (foot rot) or find an offending foreign object. Also check the whole leg for a knots, heat, etc. I had a calf who broke his leg at about a month old. He had a huge swelling between the knee and foot, but could still run around on three legs. No treatment possible, so I just kept him and mom in a small pen so he didn't have to travel far for dinner. He recovered, but it took months! Despite his handicap, he was a bear to catch!

    Jena