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Calf body condition

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JJ

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Hi,

Hopefully somebody can shed some light on this. I got 2 calves. 9 week Limousin X Illawara ShortHorn Heiffer and a 7 week Brown Swiss Steer.
Both seem to be eating alright, but their body condition seems to be quite different.

The heiffer eats mainly calf rearing pellets and lucent hay and will drink some substitute milk from a bucket - about 1 litre a day. She got a slightly rounded belly and looks in good shape.

The Steer drinks about 4-6 litres of substiture milk every day and also eats some calf rearing pellets and lucent hay. He is alert and seems quite happy, however he looks very skinny in the flanks legs and tummy. He basically looks all skin and bones. After drinking he normally coughs a few times, a wet cough which is not persistent but mainly happens around drinking time. His droppings look fairly firm and there is nothing else unusual about him.
I am a little worried about him being soo skinny, as I am not sure if this is normal or not.

I hope somebody can shed some light on this :)

Cheers,
JJ
 

certherfbeef

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He will be that way pretty much all his life because dairy cattle don't have the muscling that the beef do. Your Limmy cross is gonna be pretty heavy muscled in the flank, hind quarter.
 

JJ

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Good to know, I was a bit worried about him looking soo much skinnier then the LimousinX I cannot count her ribs, but his are sticking out a little.

I take it that the occasional cough is nothing to worry about?
 

certherfbeef

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JJ":22b1hhgj said:
I take it that the occasional cough is nothing to worry about?

Is the feed medicated? I don't know the weather there. But here it is wet and cold. Good for getting calves sick. I add terrimycin(sp?) crumbles to the feed. They never get a snotty nose but do have the occasional cough. I would keep a close eye on them. A good dose of Vitamin B12 always helps!!!!
 

JJ

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The weather is fine here, subtropical climate, simular to Florida I believe. At the moment is about 28C (83F) and 16C (60F) at night.
He has no snotty nose and it is not a persistant cough, he also had all the required medication for his age.
I think I will get some B12 as you adviced though, rather be safe then sorry in the end.
 

JJ

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Another factor is that as a steer he will not have the hormones to stimulate the growth of muscle mass that he would have had as a bull.

Changing the topic a bit, it seems the Swiss Brown are mainly used as dairy cows, but I have been told that Swiss Brown Steers make very good beef cows. Anybody that can validate this comment?

Thanks again for all the help.
 

TheBullLady

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Hmmm.. I doubt that a Brown Swiss steer would ever make a "very good beef cow". But then.. that could just be me

:roll:
 

certherfbeef

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Unless he is talking about a Murray Grey, they have the same color sometimes as a brown swiss.
 

dun

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Swiss do make a decent dairy beef steer. Heaviest muscled of the normal dairy breeds. But they're still based ona breed that was selected for milk over meat. The common saying about swiss is that the eat like a Holstein and milk like a Jersey. They're typically so framey that they have high nutrirional requirements to support that size, but they also do muscle better.

dun
 

Ann Bledsoe

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JJ":1q2b1ke1 said:
Good to know, I was a bit worried about him looking soo much skinnier then the LimousinX I cannot count her ribs, but his are sticking out a little.

I take it that the occasional cough is nothing to worry about?

You'll always be able to see a rib or two on a dairy animal.

As for his cough, is he on a bottle or nipple pail? If so, change the nipple ASAP -- the hole enlarges on an older nipple and will feed the milk too fast, causing them to cough after feeding.
If the nipple hole gets too big, they can actually aspirate the milk into their lungs, get aspiration pneumonia, and die.
I plan on changing nipples every 2 weeks while bottlefeeding a calf.

If he's taking his milk from a bucket or pan, I don't know what to tell you -- it's the same problem, taking the milk in too fast, but with bucket feeding, there's not much you can do to slow them down.
The cough usually clears up within a few days of weaning.

Ann B
 

Rustler9

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I see alot of people around here using Brown Swiss cows with a black bull. The calves are usually black and grow like crazy. A few years ago I used to milk a Swiss cow for the table and I always bred her to a Beefmaster bull. Boy talk about some calves-they sure grew out good. We actually kept a couple heifers from this cross and put them back into the beef herd.
 

la4angus

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TheBullLady":3tn9jxzn said:
I can't beleive y'all missed that!!!
but I have been told that Swiss Brown Steers make very good beef cows
Read this again...

Why give a new person from a country that we are not from, a hard time, for making an honest mistake. Their vocabulary may be different from ours here in the good old US of A. I know many town people here in the USA that refer to bulls as cows and to cows as bullls. many assinine comments have been made on here, from people that should know better, that no one has ridiculled .
 

Cattle Rack Rancher

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I can't beleive y'all missed that!!!

I was very tempted to make that same comment when I saw the steer being called a cow, but this is the beginners board and some beginners may not quite have the terminology down yet. Good Luck.
 

JJ

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Lol,

No offence taken, call it a beginners mistake. As soon as I saw the comment I realised (we spell it with an S) that I was indeed wrong.

Thanks for all the help though, this seems to be one of the most active forums on cattle in the world. I will surely stick around and soak in some of your collective wisdom :)

As for his cough, is he on a bottle or nipple pail? If so, change the nipple ASAP -- the hole enlarges on an older nipple and will feed the milk too fast, causing them to cough after feeding.

I read somewhere else on these forums that some people actually enlarge the nipple to encourage feeding from it. Based on your comments I take it, this is not a good idea?
At the moment he is both bucket and nipple feeding. Planning to go solely to bucket soon.

Cheers,
JJ
 

Ann Bledsoe

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JJ":k0vh8d7r said:
I read somewhere else on these forums that some people actually enlarge the nipple to encourage feeding from it. Based on your comments I take it, this is not a good idea?
At the moment he is both bucket and nipple feeding. Planning to go solely to bucket soon.

Cheers,
JJ

A calf needs to work for his milk. For milk to be digested properly, the calf has to produce adequate amounts of saliva while ingesting the milk. If the nipple feeds too fast, he won't work hard enough to produce enough saliva.
There's exceptions to everything, such as the weak calf who wears out before getting enough milk, or the calf that has to be tubed, but a calf that is encouraged to generate copious amounts of saliva while nursing will *usually* do better in the long run.

Ann B
 

TheBullLady

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I was not trying ridicule JJ AT ALL.. I realized it was just a mistake, but thought it was a funny one.

My mistake for thinking it was funny, and I'm sorry if you took offense JJ
 

Texan

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TheBullLady":101ob0vx said:
My mistake for thinking it was funny, and I'm sorry if you took offense JJ
Guess I'll have to stand in the corner with you, Bull Lady! I thought it was funny, too. I don't think you owe any apologies. Thanks for trying to help us smile! :D
 
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