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Birth Defect

CattleAnnie

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Had a second calver give birth to what I initially thought was a pretty heifer yesterday. Wrong. As if the last spring snowstorm of three inches wasn't bad enough over the last couple of days...

Closer inspection revealed birth defects... calf was unable to straighten her neck, or bend either forelegs more than 30 degrees, and her left ear was "smushed" looking -stood straight up and twisted behind her head, and her spine had a protrusion on the right side just above the ribcage.

Of course, tried like a son-of-a-gun to massage those legs and the neck hoping they would loosen up, and even tried to get the little gaffer to stand, but she had very poor motor ability. Had to bonk her over the head this morning. Hate that with a passion.

This is the first birth defect I've had in my herd (guess it was just a matter of time given the odds). Have any of you encountered any?

Take care.
 

la4angus

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I think I know how you feel. I would feel terrible in the same situation.
Could you fill us in on the cows background and also on the sires breeding. I don't know if this would help, but there could be some correlation.
 

CattleAnnie

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Yeah, well, you know how the old saying goes.. "If you've got livestock, you've got deadstock."

As to the sire/dam question, straight sim both sides. No linebreeding. Figure it's just one of those things. Genetic crossfire.
 

la4angus

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CattleAnnie":1xv1uox9 said:
Yeah, well, you know how the old saying goes.. "If you've got livestock, you've got deadstock."

As to the sire/dam question, straight sim both sides. No linebreeding. Figure it's just one of those things. Genetic crossfire.

Also
If you aint got em you can't loose em
Feel RICH
 

dun

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I woul be thinking more nutritional or environemntal defect. Cow ate something toxic, didn't get something that it needed, or something of the sort.

dun
 

CattleAnnie

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Interesting point, Dun. It's kind of hard to imagine...165 cows calved out so far this spring, and all pretty good calves with the exception of that one. Cow had the same environment and diet as the rest of herd. Of course, there's another 50 or so yet to go, so I suppose it might show up yet.

However, this is our third calf crop on this particular ranch, and over 500 head born and raised here, no big changes in management, so I kind of ruled out environmental or nutritional factors as there hasn't been any previous problems. But that's not to say that it isn't a possibility.

Neighbours up the road have had a couple in the past fifteen years... a male calf born with it's hocks jointed backwards (it didn't live very long, a couple of days), and this spring a set of twins where one didn't develop a tail. The vertebrae ended right where her tail should have been. So maybe you're right... might be something in the area.

Take care.
 

dun

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A cow that has a yen for bracken fern or ther toxic plant, or locates a deposit of a strange heavy metal, those are the types of things I had thought of.

dun


CattleAnnie":2l1oyfh7 said:
Interesting point, Dun. It's kind of hard to imagine...165 cows calved out so far this spring, and all pretty good calves with the exception of that one. Cow had the same environment and diet as the rest of herd. Of course, there's another 50 or so yet to go, so I suppose it might show up yet.

However, this is our third calf crop on this particular ranch, and over 500 head born and raised here, no big changes in management, so I kind of ruled out environmental or nutritional factors as there hasn't been any previous problems. But that's not to say that it isn't a possibility.

Neighbours up the road have had a couple in the past fifteen years... a male calf born with it's hocks jointed backwards (it didn't live very long, a couple of days), and this spring a set of twins where one didn't develop a tail. The vertebrae ended right where her tail should have been. So maybe you're right... might be something in the area.

Take care.
 

TLCfromARK

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You said you'd had your herd in the same pasture for awhile, have you changed bulls? We had something like that happen to us a few years ago, not quite the same but similar the year after we bought a new bull. Our vet told us that sometimes the bull and the cow's genetics are not compatible and the calf could have defects. We moved the cow to a different pasture ( bull ) and she's had 2 good calves since. Of course it could just be bad luck.
;-)
 

CattleAnnie

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I upped my herd numbers last fall, and have had to purchase a new bull this spring, but this is the second crop from the rest of the boys.

Larkspur is the only toxic plant to cattle that she might have gotten into, and they're only found in a few places in the Summer range, so it may be that she developed a taste for their toxic roots.

Thanks for the thoughts, all. Take care.
 

CattleAnnie

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Beefy, she was on both tame and bush grasses. Alfalfa hay all winter, although this year we supplemented with barley to make the feed stretch due to the drought, and used a bit of straw as a pusher.

Not terribly worried about it anymore, just wish somebody would hurry and drop a set of twins so I can graft a calf onto the cow. She's haunting the barnyard...seems pretty sure we've got her calf hidden away somewhere.

Take care all.
 

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