Little thieves

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mkb
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Little thieves

Post by mkb » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:43 pm

I've had a couple of young calves that that are going around robbing milk from some of my first calf heifers before they calve and stealing their colostrum. I had a few heifers that had uddered up really well and looked like they could calve anytime, but when I looked at them earlier today they looked like they had been sucked out. I wondering whether a heifer or cow that is sucked out is able to reproduce good quality colostrum in a day or two, or if they are sucked out that close to calving if they won't have enough time to produce good quality colostrum and I should thaw out and feed them some frozen colostrum.



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Re: Little thieves

Post by TCRanch » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:36 am

No. Optimum colostral antibodies reach their max appx. 5 weeks pre partum and your heifers won't make any more. If at all possible, separate the heifers from the rest of the herd and I would be inclined to supplement the calves from the "robbed" heifers with colostrum replacer.

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Caustic Burno
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Re: Little thieves

Post by Caustic Burno » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:54 am

TCRanch wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:36 am
No. Optimum colostral antibodies reach their max appx. 5 weeks pre partum and your heifers won't make any more. If at all possible, separate the heifers from the rest of the herd and I would be inclined to supplement the calves from the "robbed" heifers with colostrum replacer.
Or are the heifers just being heifers?
Seen many a heifer bag up just to go down getting ready.
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Re: Little thieves

Post by Son of Butch » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:53 am

mkb wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:43 pm
I've had a couple of young calves that that are going around robbing milk from some of my first calf heifers before they calve and stealing their colostrum. I had a few heifers that had uddered up really well and looked like they could calve anytime, but when I looked at them earlier today they looked like they had been sucked out. I wondering whether a heifer or cow that is sucked out is able to reproduce good quality colostrum in a day or two, or if they are sucked out that close to calving if they won't have enough time to produce good quality colostrum and I should thaw out and feed them some frozen colostrum.
Warning:
IF possible separate the heifer in question until after calving and bonding with her own calf.
I once made the mistake of not separating a heifer ready to calve that allowed a calf to suck.
The heifer fell in love with the calf and when she calved, she intentionally killed her own calf and stole the milk thief calf away from it's mother.

It was a hard way for me to learn a lesson... but it never happened again.

p.s.
:welcome: to the boards
Where are you located?

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Re: Little thieves

Post by Bright Raven » Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:29 am

To avoid that, I turn the cows that have calved into a pasture without any cows or heifers that are due. Once the due mommas calve, they go out into the pasture with the pairs.
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Re: Little thieves

Post by mkb » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:40 pm

Thanks guys,
I normally turn the pairs out shortly after they calve, but I have just started calving and am waiting until I have a few more pairs before turning just a few cows with calves into a pasture by themselves. Eventually the pairs will go out into a fresh pasture shortly after they calve, but I've had a few problems with coyotes in the past and prefer to have more momma cows in the pasture before I start turning out the new calves.
I understand that most of the antibodies production would occur before the last couple of weeks of gestation, but I had thought that cows/heifers would keep producing colostral antibodies closer to the calving date than five weeks out. For example, the label on the calf scours vaccine I use says to give first-calf heifers their booster shot four weeks prior to calving. Wouldn't that imply that these heifers should still be producing colostral antibodies after you give them the booster shot?

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Re: Little thieves

Post by Bright Raven » Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:47 am

mkb wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:40 pm
I understand that most of the antibodies production would occur before the last couple of weeks of gestation, but I had thought that cows/heifers would keep producing colostral antibodies closer to the calving date than five weeks out. For example, the label on the calf scours vaccine I use says to give first-calf heifers their booster shot four weeks prior to calving. Wouldn't that imply that these heifers should still be producing colostral antibodies after you give them the booster shot?
Yes. Bovines begin to make colostrum about 5 weeks prepartum. Antibodies in the cow's (heifer's) bloodstream concentrate in the colostrum until partum. After partum, the concentration of antibodies in the milk drops. To make sure a vaccine benefits the calf, it has to be given in advance of partum so:

1. There is an immune response to the vaccine in the cow (heifer).
2. The immune response produces antibodies
3. The antibodies have time to accumulate in the colostrum.

A calf needs to nurse the colostrum as soon as possible when their bodies are capable of assimilating the antibodies. I like to see them nurse in the first 30 minutes postpartum.
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