Cows Basic info - Part II

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Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Bulls
1. Bulls are dangerous, bulls are dangerous, bulls are dangerous….they should not be pets, and if they are bottle fed they should be STEERS.
2. Just because it is a bull doesn’t mean he should breed cows!
3. Bulls jump fences, bulls wreck fences, even good fences. Keep that in mind when you decide if you’re going to rip into your neighbour about it. Electric fences will usually help, but if he’s a jumper electric won’t stop him. Bulls don’t know that they are not supposed to be interested in the cows on the other side of the fence.
4. If your bull hurts himself down there, he probably won’t heal enough that he will ever breed again. If your bull hurts his legs or hips…same outcome.
5. 1 bull can breed 15 – 20 cows as a yearling and 25 to 40 cows after that.
6. The size of the bull doesn’t indicate how big his calves will be when they’re born.
Pregnancy and Calving
1. If your cow is calving….from the time her water breaks…..A cow should take 30 minutes to have a calf, a heifer 60 min. Don’t wait too long. And it’s better to err on the side of caution, than to give too much time or you risk a weak or dead calf.
1. The size of the cow’s belly does not = the size or position of the calf!
2. Gestation is approximately 285 days
3. Cows calve when they are ready to calve. Even if you know the moment she was bred, you can add or subtract 14 -17 days to the calving date.
4. Cows produce slime, just cause you see a little discharge doesn’t really mean anything. A couple days after a heat they will have some bloody discharge. After calving they will have bloody discharge for a few weeks. Before calving they will lose the mucous plug, this can be hours or days before.
5. Cows and heifers develop udders at different rates, heifers will start to develop an udder 8+ weeks before calving. Some sooner, some later. Cows may or may not develop a full udder before they calve. There is no one size fits all in udder development.
6. If you want to know if your cow is pregnant….get it pregnancy checked, there’s several options out there. Get the vet out to do a pregnancy check, send blood away.
7. If you see another cow riding your cow and she is standing still, she is probably NOT pregnant, she is in heat. Don’t get your hopes up. Again, with the miracle thing.
8. Not every cow is made out to be a mother. Sometimes, the best option is to take the calf and get rid of the cow.
9. Cows abort once in a while. If you are having more than 1 abortion (small herd) or 2% of the herd, you should get a hold of your vet.
10. Retained placenta is a placenta that hasn’t released after about 24 hours. Retained placenta should be left alone unless the cow is actually sick. Pulling on it or manually removing it can damage the uterus more than the infection ever would.
Baby Calves
1. Your calf NEEDS colostrum. The sooner the better, within 4 hours is best. If in doubt, get some into it. After 24 hours it is too late, you can feed it, but it won’t do much good.
2. Baby calves sleep quite a bit. It is normal that they aren’t running around all the time. But they should get up and move around and play a bit. Everyone is different, some go hard from the first hour or so, some are lazier. You can tell a lot about the health of a calf by sticking your finger in it’s mouth. If it feels almost hot…he’s probably fine. If it feels cool…then you have problems. This is also where using a thermometer can help you out.
3. Baby calves rarely sleep flat out, if it is quite young and laying flat out, check it out!
4. If you have baby calves, you should keep Electrolytes on hand
5. If you are calving cows out, keep extra colostrum on hand (commercial or frozen)
6. If you are calving cows out you should have calving chains or straps on hand, a calf puller isn’t a bad idea either.
7. You DO NOT need to stop feeding milk to a calf when you give electrolytes, but it is a good idea to give them at separate times. You should use electrolytes that are labelled for calves. Calves ARE NOT the same as humans.
8. If you are bottle feeding baby calves you should make sure your milk replacer does not have Soy in it. It should be milk based and 20% protein and 20% energy.
9. Baby calves cannot efficiently digest hay, they should be fed grain or, even better a balanced calf ration.
10. Calves are usually weaned off the cow between 5 and 7 months of age. They should spend at least 12 weeks, longer if at all possible, before they go back with the cows.
Feeding
2. As a general rule you should only feed cows feed that is for cows. Don’t feed them chicken or pig or horse food (prepared foods), unless you are 100% sure of the ingredients in that feed.
3. Some feeds for cattle can be dangerous to other animals. Sheep can die from copper and horses from Rumensin!
4. Cows need to chew their cud, it’s part of their digestive system.
5. Cows will eat food that will kill them. They will eat too much grain, really good quality hay can both kill them.
6. You should keep a free choice mineral available.
 

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