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2nd calf heifer with no milk

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Sd1030

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Been awhie since ive posted asking for thoughts, but i have a young cow that calved her second calf this week and she had no milk. Heres a little history on this cow, last year i had to pull her calf and it was dead once i found her and got it pulled. A friend had a orphan calf that we grafted onto her and she raised if fine. She took the calf with very little work at all and had plenty of milk. Since she did well with that calf i decided to give her another try, and now i got a calf im having to bottle feed. My question is what could possibly cause her to not have milk? I could be wrong but i dont think it’s nutritional because she seems to be in good body condition. Currently im strip grazing my cattle on fescue based pasture, feeding a little hay, and keep free choice minerals out. I know i could give her a shot of oxytin(spelling) to see if shell come to her milk, but ive been told it could causs her to throw her uterus, so im reluctant to do that. Shes most definitely on my cull list at this point, but im just curious at what could cause this. Has anyone else experienced this in the past? Any suggestions on what i could possibly do besides the shot to see if her milk will come?
 
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Sd1030

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When you say stripped her teats im assuming your referring to trying to milking her by hand. If thats what your meaning, yes i have tried and i got no milk. No signs of mastitis that i can tell. If that isnt what you were meaning, could you explain yourself so i can learn something new.
 

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Never heard of oxytocin causing a prolapse, in fact it should be the opposite as it helps shrink the uterus. But giving it only helps let the milk down if she has any, it won't create it, and if the calf has been nursing she would have let her milk down by now. I would bet if you supplement the calf for awhile (don't fill him up or he won't work on her) that she will come to her milk. She raised a calf last year, so if she's healthy there's no reason for her not to do it again.
 

TCRanch

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Sd1030":2s4e8mpe said:
When you say stripped her teats im assuming your referring to trying to milking her by hand. If thats what your meaning, yes i have tried and i got no milk. No signs of mastitis that i can tell. If that isnt what you were meaning, could you explain yourself so i can learn something new.
That's basically what I meant. Checking to make sure the teats weren't plugged, milk wasn't watery or clumpy/yellow. I've also used a teat cannula with actually better success than just milking by hand. Side note: make darn sure her teats are clean before inserting a properly sanitized cannula. That said, the only time I've had a milk production problem is because of mastitis; since you've checked/ruled that out I hope someone else can help and sending good luck!
 

talltimber

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I've had cows be a little light on milk before right after calving. I have given the calf a bottle, to keep it going, but left hungry enough to beat the cow up some. Get them up and feed her a while and see. The ones I have had do that always came to milk after a week or so maybe, sometimes not that long. The calf will tell you when he's getting some because he won't want the bottle as much. My cows wasn't in bad condition either. They're gone now.
 

farmerjan

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Not to be a wise guy, but are you sure it is her calf? Sometimes a cow will claim a calf that is not hers.....Anyone else have a calf that maybe had twins? Was she due about now so within the general time frame? I am no fan of fescue, but have never heard of it causing an animal to not come into their milk.
Oxytocin will not cause them to prolapse, but as stated it will not bring her into milk but help with the letdown. A shot won't hurt her if you want to try it. We had a sow one time that the vet said to use oxytocin on and after 5 days she came into her milk; don't guess a few times would hurt.
I'd bottle feed the calf, leave it with her and see if she comes into her milk. If you are sure it is her calf.
 
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Sd1030

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Thanks for all the input. I thought about it and i should have mentioned i think this calf is about 20 days early, going of my records from when i saw the cow in heat last year. With that being said could that possibly be part of the reason she has no milk? Ive talked with a friend and weve talked about what could cause this as far as early calving and being dry and they mentioned lepto, as a possible cause. I wasnt expecting this cow to calf this soon and found the calf one morning after work. The calf wasnt very active and when i checked again that afternoon i felt the calf needed a bottle. Well to make a long story short we had to tube the calf for 2 days and have just recently got it to nurse a bottle. Weve got it in a barn under a heat lamp, separated from mom right now, because of nasty wet weather conditions. Hoping to get the two back together soon. Been a major learning curve for me, and I appreciate all the input.
 
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Sd1030

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Farmerjan i guess its a small chance it could be another cows calf, but im pretty positive its her. Hadnt really thought of that, thanks for mentioning that.
 
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Sd1030

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Also let me clarify the barn i have the calf in isnt setup for me to put the cow in with the calf. I do have the cow up feeding her and hopefully ill be able to get the 2 back together this week and see what happens. Looking like ive got a bottle baby as of now though.
 

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If that calf is 20 days early it's hair will be short and kinda felt-like, and it's teeth will be hardly through. It will be obvious.

Edited to add: If she is 20 days early it would explain the milk shortage
 

talltimber

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I'm assuming you are trying to milk the cow some with her being separated from the calf? LIke every day, at least. I think that the stimulation of that calf beating her for something to eat will help the cause too?
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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If the cow is low on milk production, it won't take very many days til she completely dries up without the calf pumping on her. A 3 -year old is usually in the worse BCS of any cow in the herd.
IF, she is 20 days early, yes that would explain her not coming to her milk, but, a calf sucking her should bring her into her production - if she has proper body condition.
Not her calf would also explain no milk. Arm her & see if she is pregnant.
Got a picture?
 
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Sd1030

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Update: after working with the cow some (trying to milk her) the cow has come to some milk. Working with getting the calf strong enough to nurse as it has been pretty sick( pneumonia i think) but things are improving day by day. Hopefully things will be better in a few more days. Heres something ill ask to see if any have experienced this, in the early attempts of milking the mama, the only thing that would come out was a clearish gel like substance that had a orangish color to it. A good friend thats been fooling with cattle for 30 plus years said its the first time she has every seen that. We called and spoke to a vet and he says it sounds like a fescue issue to him. Says thats classic to what fescue can do in horses. Yesterday she had milk though and we tried to assist the calf in nursing her and also milked her once the calf give out. So hopefully things are headed in the right direction. Strangest thing i think ive seen though.
 

Ebenezer

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My bet is on lack of tolerance for fescue. Feed some ground corn to get the milk flowing a bit quicker as it seems to help buffer. We had an issue years ago with drought stressed fescue in the fall and it had more impact on ewes than we had ever seen on anything in the late spring. I found some research at that time that verified the concentrations of the endophyte can be very high at that time due to stress and lower than normal growth rate/accumulation. Cows have been sorted beyond the issue.
 

farmerjan

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Agree on the fescue with the milk and the fact that the calf was several weeks early. The calf working on the udder, or you as a sub will get her to come to her milk more. The fescue may have triggered her to calve early too. It causes alot of problems in horses and sheep. I know there are people who do pretty good with it, but if I never saw another fescue plant I would be happy.
 
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Sd1030

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Thanks again for all the input. Its hard to understand how if its fescue related why i havent had more issues since my cattle are in a predominantly based fescue forage setting. But i do know it does cause / do some strange things so i can see it causing this. Just weird how some can tolerate it while others cant. Was able to gey the cow in chute today and get the calf to nurse, so its heading in the right direction thankfully. Thanks again for all the input and advice.
 

Logar

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Time to sell her and put that money back in to a decent cow.

This one is going to do nothing but cost you money.

Keep her if you want a pet and sell her if you want to make some money in the future.

Cheers.
 

talltimber

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Just because they are slow to come to milk once doesn't mean they will do that again. Every weather year and every calf is different. That said, if thats strike two, then do what you need to. I give them all two shots to make it happen, if I like them. The fescue thing is a problem, or not. Hard to tell. I'm ALL fescue, all the time, minus a small amount of clover interspersed, and that depends on the weather. I've not seen much of a discernable difference from one year to the next herd wide. But I have seen a difference in cows. Some can handle the fescue, some can't, and that's most generally displayed in fescue foot, rough coat, hard doing. Not lack of milk. I've got some that apparently are not handling fescue too well that have never had a milk issue.
 

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