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Mammary Secretions and lactation cycle

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apical meristem

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I was working cows Wednesday giving vaccinations and deworming them and putting on/ replacing tags, and I also recorded if they were lactating, and if they were, what was coming out of the teat. My question is how long before parturition is colostrum produced? What other mammary secretions do the cows produce? Not everybody in this herd calves at the same time. Some are late winter early spring, others should be fall calvers, although I did notice a few new calves about a month ago (late). What I wrote down is L for obviously lactating milk, but some had more of a clear stickier liquid (I do know the difference beween a cow and a bull, and no I was not pulling on any bulls, lol.), some had yellow/orange serum--colostrum. So for some with the colosturm I had to squeeze til the end of the teat broke and it came out. So it looks like I am going to get some late spring summer calves? That's crappy. Some of the stuff was watery, are these just poor milkers or should I go ahead and call them dry? I haven't worked the calves yet, so working them will probably give me a little more clue as to what is going on as far as number of calves and number of cows with watery milk/stuff.
 

dun

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First thing that comes to mind is why in the world are youmessing around with udders and trying to express anything from the teats? If a calf is nursaing she's lactating, if the calf has been weaned for a couple of weeks she's dry. Unless the udder appears hot swollen, just leave them alone
 

2/B or not 2/B

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My understanding is that when a cow is dry a waxy plug forms in the opening of the teat, which protects it from bacteria and irritants. The plug is good and squeezing it out for no reason is bad... I check my cows teats after they've calved (during spring vaccs) to make sure they're milking well from all 4 quarters and this is what I record. Other than that or if they look swollen/hot as dun said, we leave them alone.
 

Pickles Dillman

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dun":3hzrw5g8 said:
First thing that comes to mind is why in the world are youmessing around with udders and trying to express anything from the teats? If a calf is nursaing she's lactating, if the calf has been weaned for a couple of weeks she's dry. Unless the udder appears hot swollen, just leave them alone

I was kinda wondering that myself.
 

Keren

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I've never heard of anyone doing it quite like that, BUT when our cows are close to calving we check their mill daily, our cows are quiet enough I can just walk up to most of them in the paddock and squeeze a little out, when it turns from that thick sticky ambery coloured stuff to colostrum, they are usually a day away

I once had a chart which showed the changes of the secretions as they get closer to calving but I've got no idea where it is

FWIW I've havent had any more mastitis problems with doing this, even though you are removing the wax plug
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Keren - I don't usually disagree with you, but I would have to say I do not believe in opening up the teat prior to calving. Just asking for trouble.
And I totally agree with Dun - I would think there should be a better way for you to tell if a cow is nursing a calf or not. It's called OBSERVATION. Evidently you do not SEE your cattle very often.
 

hillsdown

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Keren your right there have been many studies done on when the secretion goes from syrup to colostrum and how soon they will calve. It is said that a cow when a cow goes from clear syrup consistency to the yellowish milky consistency there should be a calf within 48 hours however there are exceptions the rules.
However checking to see if a cow is dry while still having a calf at the side I have no experience with. We fenceline or pen ween all calves and dry all cows. If the calf is at the side we assume it is still drinking and the cow is still producing milk the only time I get concerned if I have a calf that seems to be a poor doer compared to its contemporaries then the first thing I will do is pen both and check the calf thoroughly as well as the cow. We also have a definitive calving period and all cows are preg checked. So I am not familiar with this practice but it doesn't mean that it is not done.

I also will add that we have milked the odd cow before they calve if she has made a huge udder and is secreting "milk" and has been known to come down with milk fever.
 

Keren

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":bgw7gfnk said:
Keren - I don't usually disagree with you, but I would have to say I do not believe in opening up the teat prior to calving. Just asking for trouble.
.

I know. Theoretically, it SHOULD cause all sorts of problems. But its something my adopted parents have been doing for forever lol and without problems. NO idea why.
 

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