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dun
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From Beef Cow Calf Weekly

Post by dun » Fri Mar 17, 2006 7:34 pm

Energy Management And Keeping Calves Alive
Why do some calves thrive in cold weather while some, given the same conditions, just want to die? Sometimes we say the calf has no "heart to live" or the cow is simply not a "good mother." But, Ron Torell, University of Nevada Extension livestock specialist, says that might be a cop-out.

It probably has more to do with management of the cow and the calf's ability to trigger thermogenesis -- the creation of heat, he says. In the case of the latter, it's the ability of a newborn wet calf to dry off, warm up and bring its core temperature to normal -- even with a wet hide and in the face of a cold, howling wind.

"Shivering helps the body generate heat," Torell says. "The skeletal muscles create the shivering and there's a little muscle on each hair that helps to create a better blanket."

More important is the brown fat, or adipose tissue, prevalent in healthy, well-fed newborns that exhibit non-shivering thermogenesis to regulate their body temperature. Torell says the brown fat is located around blood vessels and major organs. When triggered into activity, the brown fat causes warming of the blood, which is circulated throughout the body to spread the warmth.

"If a calf is born from a thin cow, chances are the calf lacks an adequate amount of this stored brown fat tissue to warm itself," Torell says. "On a cold day with the wind blowing, you may have a dead calf if the calf lacks this brown fat."

A calf can have "heart" and "will to live," but if it has no fat storage, hypothermia may take its toll primarily due to a lack of brown fat adipose tissue in the calf. That is the manager's fault, Torell says.

"It all goes back to 12 months of cow herd management," he says. Preservation of body condition, adequate nutrition of the brood cow, good management, a mineral program, good genetics, mothering ability, calving in an area that offers protection and calving in synch with Mother Nature, these factors all contribute. Other factors such as dystocia, first-calf heifers, delayed delivery, oxygen deprivation at birth -- can all contribute to hypothermia and impede thermogenesis.

A thermometer is essential to determine the degree of hypothermia, Torell adds. "Often, a calf doesn't appear hypothermic but, upon taking its temperature, you find its body temp is below normal."

Early treatment of hypothermic calves is important. The severe hypothermic calf can be revived and saved. However, the experience often sets them back and their body defense system can be compromised. This sets the calf up for pneumonia, scours and other calfhood problems.
-- Clint Peck



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Post by buckaroo_bif » Fri Mar 17, 2006 7:56 pm

Good info Dun
Cow Calf weekly is a great newsletter.
OSU puts out a good weekly letter too it's just called Cow Calf weekly.

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Post by Susie David » Fri Mar 17, 2006 9:24 pm

Good timing Dun...had a well conditioned heifer calve under a tree this week, wouldn't go under the loafing shed, even pushed them under after calving but in the morning she was back under her tree with snow all around. Calf shivered and was slow to nurse but in now up and running all over the pen.
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Post by warpaint » Sat Mar 18, 2006 9:46 am

Great post Dun.
I also would like to ask, where you come up with all the different avatars? The latest is a good un.
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dun
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Post by dun » Sat Mar 18, 2006 11:45 am

warpaint wrote: where you come up with all the different avatars? The latest is a good un.


Just stuff that I have stored or I see. The propeller on the beanie is supposed to spin. I guess when I shrunk it down small enough for an avatar it lost the motion part

dun

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Jeanne - Simme Valley
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Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sat Mar 18, 2006 5:59 pm

dun wrote:
warpaint wrote: where you come up with all the different avatars? The latest is a good un.


Just stuff that I have stored or I see. The propeller on the beanie is supposed to spin. I guess when I shrunk it down small enough for an avatar it lost the motion part

dun
:D :D Leave it to you!!!
Good article. So many people blame it on the cow - instead of THEMSELVES!!
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"We make a living by what we get,
we make a life by what we give."

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Post by DiamondSCattleCo » Sun Mar 19, 2006 12:27 am

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:Good article. So many people blame it on the cow - instead of THEMSELVES!!


Yep, very good article. I take alot of grief around here for having my cows rolling fat headed into winter and calving season, but I think it helps the calves alot. I know I have 1 in 50 hard births, likely due to overweight animals, but by the same token, I can have a calf drop at -30F and survive for over four hours without losing ears.

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Post by msscamp » Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:02 am

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
dun wrote:
warpaint wrote: where you come up with all the different avatars? The latest is a good un.


Just stuff that I have stored or I see. The propeller on the beanie is supposed to spin. I guess when I shrunk it down small enough for an avatar it lost the motion part

dun
:D :D Leave it to you!!!
Good article. So many people blame it on the cow - instead of THEMSELVES!!


This statement begs the question of how many of those people are experienced with cold temperatures and have the experience or knowledge of what to do to prevent frozen ears, tails, or feet? It is not something that comes naturally to people that are new to the cattle business - as a natural assumption would be that the mother would protect and keep her calf warm - and requires a little experience to deal with or a very good mentor who has been there and done that and can enlighten one as to the hazards of cold temperatures. You and I have the experience to know better, but there are a lot of newbies that don't. Just something to think about.
Women and cats are going to do what they want, men and dogs would be wise to accept this.

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Post by dun » Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:36 am

warpaint wrote:Great post Dun.
I also would like to ask, where you come up with all the different avatars? The latest is a good un.


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