sick calves from auctions : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

i am trying to raise young stock from auction problem is am i totally crazy? i have on occasion,had success.mostly things have gone sour. calves usually look okay but within a day or so(sometimes a week) there is a down fall of trouble.i dont understand why these calves that die have swollen stomachs when i know part of the reason has to do with diarrhea present?

-- ron lockington (, August 07, 2001


They don't get colustrum , over heated and exposed to all kinds of viruses .You need to look in the archives and do some reading , this subject has been covered over and over .There is alot of good advice to be found there .

-- Patty {NY State} (, August 07, 2001.

I don't think failure to get colostrum can be given as a blanket statement. Sometimes the price of old cows get so low, if they come in with a calf, they are separated as that way they will bring in more than as a cow/calf pair. Some dairy farmers will let a calf stay with the cow for a day since they don't want the colostrum.

I have raised about eight calves from the sales barn without losing one, while I have yet to save a sick calf from my herd. Probably they are too sick to begin with.

When I go to the sales barn I find where they are storing the bottle calves and climb in with them. Things I look for are: Will the calf readily let me approach and scratch it. Are the eyes clear and bright and are they alert (even if sleepy)? Will it suckle on a couple of fingers and then how aggressively? What does the disposal end look like - any signs of scours? I get them on their feet to see if they will follow me for my fingers. Lastly I ask the person doing the unloading if the calf came in my itself or with a cow.

I take a nipple bottle with me with calf milk replacer and some sugar in it. If I buy one, I fill it with warm water, add a raw egg and give the calf a feeding in the back of the covered pickup. If I'm in my flatbed, it rides on the floor of the cab by the passenger's seat. Once home they get a shot of penicillin. The sugar and egg are continued in each feeding for about a week. I'm just now getting some comfrey established. In the future I will use a blender to puree some leaf and add it to the formula.

However, whatever you do, you will lose some of them.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, August 07, 2001.

No... you're not crazy....we did the same. We tried several yrs ago and lost a bunch of calves, nice angus. We lost them to pnemonia and scours. Then we lost a few to the Hurricane that came through in 97 in VA, Fran.

Heres what w efinally started doing to finally get them to survive. We started giving Immuno-G, which is an immunoglobin supplement. it worked greart with our goat kids so we tried it on the calves. They never scoured once or got pnemonia. We also gave them the 4 way pills for scours too from Jeffers. Then we fed goats milk via a bottle with nipple. Ken's suggestions are great too. Good luck.

-- Bernice (, August 07, 2001.

Ok, I have raised a few calves from the auction house, and I in fact, aim to buy the sick ones, because COLD SKIM MILK always brings them around. No one in here believes my story, but its the truth!

-- daffodyllady (, August 07, 2001.

Ron, I started in goats with auction barn babies, as babies were brought in the guy would lift the leg for me, a doe and floopy ears, it nearly always went home with me. I made a tidy little profit off of infant stock. I always started them on a sulfa like Albon, not only for scours, but for the bacterial pnemonia and cocci that was always present. I always used goat milk, I wouldn't even consider trying to raise a newborn without some real milk. Milk replacer is a very cheap immitation of the real thing, I think most loss is do to the soy in it rather than illness, couple that with the notion that somehow a calf or kid that has diarrhea is then taken off all calories (milk replacer) and put on electrolytes which contain no calories for them to regulate their body temp and stay warm, grow etc. they get weaker and weaker till they are then being tubed, the eventual dealth from starvation and dehydration is then blamed on the calf being sick from the beginning. Rehydrate the calves and kids with subq injections of lactated ringers, leaving the stomach for good quality calories in the form of whole milk. Then as the calf/kid begins to ruminate, eating grain, hay and grass/browse, then you can slowly start them on milk replacers, the further you stay away from soy milk replacers the better your stock will turn out. Course my goal was never to just simply keep them alive, but to have an excellent animal after weaning. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, August 07, 2001.

If you get a good vet book and can estamate the age of the calf within a day you can tell what they are getting sick from .Some things like cocc will start on a certain day as well as ecoli .I will try to find the time to jot it down to post here .When cattle prices are low alot of calves do not get colustrum .Most farmers are doing better now that calf prices are up .Most dairies by us will not let the calves stay with mom , even for a day or 2.

-- Patty {NY State} (, August 07, 2001.

After many bad experiences with calves at auctions, we finally went another route.To the source. I visited several local dairy farmers and told them what I wanted and when. Than when they have a calf thats destined for the auction, they iodine the cord and give it colostrum and call me.The little extra time they put into the newborn calf makes a difference in survival rates and its actually less hassle and more profit for them than the auction route.And the calf isn't exposed to so much disease through the auction barns.Even if you end up paying a bit more, you will save in the long run without all the medications and losses of calves. You also learn by visiting the farm, which ones are clean and less likely to have sickly calves, and which ones to avoid. I don't know why more people don't do this.

-- Kate henderson (, August 08, 2001.

Forgot to mention I also use a supplemental nipple to the red rubber ones. The problem with these is they are too soft and the opening in the end is too large. The calves gulp down the milk. It is better for them to have to suck hard, like they would have had to do on momma. I bought hard black rubber nipples from McCarville Dairy Supplies in Mineral Point, WI - last # I have is 608-987-2416. I put one inside the red nipple so the calf really has to work to get the milk. This way they produce and ingest a lot of saliva, which helps them properly digest the milk. For older calves I put three of these hard nipples at the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket and hung it on the fence, filling from the top.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, August 08, 2001.

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