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Update on "Trial by Fire"

911 Views 21 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  bstuart29
Well, if you'll remember our newly aquired dairy/cheeseplant was having troubles aplenty with our calvings the first month. Due to many things but mainly a serious selelenium deficiency I came to believe.
Well, now we are into the second month and things are much better on the calving front. About a month ago I built several hanging mineral feeders and put out loose minerals for the dry cows, the dairy herd and the fresh cows. They have gone through an easy 400 lbs of mineral since then(mostly the dry cows!). I also gave all the dry cows a selenium shot since the loose minerals would not have time to be properly assimilated before they calved. Since these measures were taken, we have had exactly 0 calving difficulties. All calves have been born with ease, big and small alike. Out of mostly pure Holstien cows.
I'm sure its not *all* due to the minerals.....But I know some of it is. I look forward to seeing more changes as their bodies use the minerals they are now getting.
Had the vet out to pregcheck and all the cows but 4 were carrying live calves. 3 of those four were open and one was carrying a mummy calf. We luted the mummy carrier twice and she shed the mummy after the second shot. So she is ready to be bred back in December when we put the bull in the herd.
Just thought I'd update you all in case you were interested.
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Emily - At your current farm and in a concentric circle of 20 miles surrounding your farm, are there?
A.) No Pheasants
B.) A sparse few Pheasants
C.) Ample Pheasants
I've never seen any pheasants since we moved to Missouri. We have lived in this state for almost 9 years now and have lived in three different areas in the same 100 mile radius. Not seen pheasants at any of them.
I have been a big believer in high quality loose minerals for a long time. We have always kept them available for our family Jersey herd and my herd of goats. Always looking for a high copper and selenium mineral with low salt content. Not only does the salt inhibit the animals from getting enough of the other minerals as said by travlnusa, it is also *cheap* so if your mineral is too high in salt, your probably paying too much and getting less performance out of your stock.
In this area the high iron in the water also inhibits copper absorbtion. Copper and selenium work hand in hand for optimal breeding/calving(or kidding)/milking/good feet, etc. So if your low in one the other can't do its full job either.
This herd of dairy cows have never had free-choice loose minerals available to them, to my knowledge. I can see copper/selenium issues in their breeding/feet/hair/calving as a herd. Not terrible, but certainly issues. They do have mineral included in their feed, but its just not enough. The way they have been sucking down the loose minerals and the change in the calving problems upon supplying them with sufficient selenium, proves that point.

Goats have an even higher need of copper and selenium than cows do. Especially here with high iron binding up the copper, that can be a real issue. I have given selenium shots twice a year and a copper bolus once a year for quite some time now to my goat herd. The improvement was drastic when I first started. Herd health improved dramatically.

Now I am discovering that I can apply a lot of mineral-knowledge I have aquired on my goats for years, to the new dairy cow herd.

Thanks for all the responses, keep em coming!
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" ...a serious selenium deficiency I have come to believe... "

The Old Timers say that the Pheasants will migrate to areas where there are adequate levels of Selenium in the natural environment. The absence of Pheasants would thus support your theorum.
How interesting!!
Glad you got your herd lined out.............
Well, I wouldn't say we have acomplished that task yet.....but maybe a few steps up the ladder anyway!
I'm sure as I have witnessed in goats, it will take a while to get all the cattle to the mineral level they need and to keep them there. Nutrition is such a balancing act.
I think your speaker was onto something. Though its not widely recognized, selenium issues are rather widespread. As are copper. And as I said before one cannot do its full job without the other. In the goat world(smaller) its more recognized than in the cattle world(MUCH bigger). If you ask the average dairy farmer in my area if they are selenium or copper deficient, they will probably say no or that they don't know. Because they haven't connected the retained afterbirth, slow-breeders, hard calvings, poor feet, and brown-tinged holstiens with mineral deficiencies.
This is very interesting, I hope you will continue to post your experiences. When can we order cheese?

I especially found interesting your shed that you put two semi trailers for storage under:

Great idea!

Thanks, it has worked well so far for me. One of the semi trailers is full of hay for the goats, the other one is family storage(read: "all my brothers and Dads junk";)).
We are making and selling cheese every week. We took over the operation so it was an already running business. Right now we are lower in the cheese department than we like and cannot keep up with all the orders. Its dry-time for about 20 cows which really cuts our production down. But we are calving a few every week so our production should slowly start going back up within a month. Right now I am drying cows off as others freshen so we are only going up in production *very* slowly.
We sell raw cow milk cheese under the label of "Morningland Dairy" and raw goat milk cheese under the label "Ozark Hills Farm".
I'll keep posting our experiences as we try to manage this herd/business ever better.
Yesterday we had a slight problem calving, but it was just a breach calf all frogged up in the birth canal. With very minimal manuevering, he slipped right out.
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Emily, as you are administering Selenium shots, did your Vet explain the need to have an antidote on hand to guard against reaction to the Selenium shots?

Epinephrine. I always keep it on hand when giving any shots to anything since any shots can send an animal into *can't remember the word* shock.
I give all my calfs a shot call MINERAL gives them Selenium ..magnesium...cooper..and something else all in one shot...I really feel it helps my new borns I give it at 2 days old

I've heard good things about that with goats. We have had very healthy hardy calves so far but I'm glad you reminded me of this. I'll keep it in mind in case of problems.
Pics of the dairy herd out on clover/alfalfa/grass pasture.

Here are the mineral feeders I made for the cows. Dry cow pastures each have one and the dairy herd has three. I think I need to get at least two more out for the dairy herd. They work great and the mineral doesn't blow out or get spilled. They are a variation of the type I have seen sold at the feed stores in the spring. Cheaper though.....:angel:

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You did a nice job of cutting the hole straight and tidy.:D

What tool did you use to cut through that plastic?
LOL!! I was pretty impressed with that myself. Its amazing what you can do with the proper tools.
I used a drill to drill a small hole at one corner of where I wanted to cut, then used a jigsaw to do the rest, starting at that hole. It was so simple.
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