cold weather for calving

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Anonymous

Well the weather has been down to -50'C these past couple of nights and of course, the cows start calving. Our calving barn is not heated, only by the body heat from cows which always seems to keep the shed at good temp. Anyways we had a heifer calve right after the cows were let out in the morning. It was sooo cold out that morning that within the 25 mins we were away that heifer calved and the calf's two back feet were froze. We got colostrum into the little guy right away and had him in the heated shop to warm him up. The question I had is when a calf freezes his feet is there anything that could be done to have gotten circulation back into them? The calf is 2 days old now and look's bright eyed but hasn't been able to stand. When he first was put in the shop I kept rubbing his legs and feet to see if that would help. But I'm afraid this guy will lose his feet so will have to be put down. This is the first time we've ever had frozen feet, so incase another incident were to occur, I'd like to know what other people do?
 
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Anonymous

Brr. the only thing I do know for sure is that rubbing frozen tissue does more damage. Think of the cells being sharp ice fragments...rubbing only makes microscopic tears and cuts within the structure of the tissue. Warming with applied heat is prefered and you can use warm water bath, electric blanket, hot box.... I did have a calf freeze a claw once ......it dropped off and grew back to be a normal hoof. I wish you luck.... keep us updated.

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Anonymous

Well, I was at a farm in Oregon along the Clamath (SP) River, what the cowboys do is the y pull a sledge behind their horse, snatch the calf up,put it in the sledge, drag it back to the bunk house ASAP, put the calf in the bath tub till fully warmed, take out of tub, dry with towels and then air dry with hair dryer and put in barn with clean dry straw/bedding with cow and observe pair to make sure calf nurses, if no nursing within 2 hours, feed via NG tube colostrum from cow or a good colostrum replacement, this will keep calf well hydrated and provide energy as you have used much of calves energy fondling it in the tub and with the dryer. You too will be pooped.

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Anonymous

I agree with Barb - rubbing is not a good thing to do when human or animal tissue is frozen. She is right about the ice crystals. Rubbing is the first thing you think of doing, but avoid it if the tissue is solid or anywhere near solid. Frozen tissue is actually a thermal injury, just as a burn is a thermal injury.

If a calf is hypothermic, the advice to place it in a tub of lukewarm water, while letting hot water from the faucet trickle in to keep the water warm, is excellent advice. You have to support the calf's head and stay with it, but it's one of the best ways to warm up a cold calf. If the calf is too cold, there is little to be done, unless you can give warm fluids via IV. A rectal temp via thermometer can give you a lot of information.

If a calf is cold enough to need the bath, it's going to be weak enough to need the tube feeding, too. And, tube feeding does warm the calf from the inside.

Good luck with your calf.

> Well, I was at a farm in Oregon
> along the Clamath (SP) River, what
> the cowboys do is the y pull a
> sledge behind their horse, snatch
> the calf up,put it in the sledge,
> drag it back to the bunk house
> ASAP, put the calf in the bath tub
> till fully warmed, take out of
> tub, dry with towels and then air
> dry with hair dryer and put in
> barn with clean dry straw/bedding
> with cow and observe pair to make
> sure calf nurses, if no nursing
> within 2 hours, feed via NG tube
> colostrum from cow or a good
> colostrum replacement, this will
> keep calf well hydrated and
> provide energy as you have used
> much of calves energy fondling it
> in the tub and with the dryer. You
> too will be pooped.
 

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