Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Tale of Two Calves: My Crap Fest Week

The thing about winter is that I do quickly get sick and tired of the cold, the brown and dormant grass, the naked trees and the cold.
Winter for me is really a long, drawn out tortuous season. I really despise it all, and I am not even in a very wintery state!
 Before farming I could spend my weekend lounging around, reading books and baking fabulous desserts. Not now. Now I worry about freezing milk lines and insulated coveralls.
As much as I love the outdoors, I do not like being outside several times a day to remind myself that it is.....cold.

                                                 *House Lamb Flicka is still sweet as ever!*

One day I will grow up and appreciate the changing of the seasons, blah, blah, blah. Until then I will gripe and complain.

Let's add to this dreary winter 2 calves that went down. TWO!
These were not little, young baby cows either, but rather 10 month old, 300-400 lb calves.
The first calf went down and we figured he had pneumonia. We treated him as such, but he never really was able to get up on his own. After a few days he couldn't stand up at all, even though he was still eating and his rumen was working and he was alert.
The next cow went down a week later. Same symptoms, same story. By this point we figured it was a mineral deficiency. Selenium maybe or magnesium. We got injections from the vet and started treating them.
Unfortunately the first calf that went down died. His legs were so weak and atrophied that he could not get up or stay up at all.

                                      *Indiana thought Flicka needed a cow girl look*

The second calf to go down is able to get up with a little assistance. We walk him around and he can walk well and eats and drinks. We are keeping him in a large stall, though, because if he goes down again it would be difficult to get him to the stall. We are still treating him as if he has a mineral deficiency and hope he will make a full recovery.
                           *Down calf #2 is up and walking and I hope making a full recovery!*

In the meantime, I have distributed lots of high magnesium salt and salt with selenium to all of my livestock so they can lick it free choice. After one day the salt buckets were empty and I refilled them. Today they are still licking up salt, but not as vigorously.
Did this solve my problem? I hope.

                                *Molly is still my beefy heifer calf. At 6 months old, she is big!*

I was very happy that my calf was up and walking and acting like himself this afternoon. Very happy. In fact, despite my disgust for winter, today I was appreciative of the improved health of my calf and stayed outside longer than usual to snap pictures with the kids and the animals.

                      *Willow loves to wrestle and play with her steer calf Brownie!*

Here's hoping for a week that continues upward!

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