nutrient deficency??

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i have a brahma cross cow that eats feed well, but is not too crazy about eating grass.. she will eat some, but not like she should be. she is losing weight and has a 3 1/2 week old calf that is thin (she is not giving much milk either). i had to dig up a pipe in the pen and she is now eating a little of the dirt..

does anyone have suggestions on what she may be lacking in her diet? or is it normal for them to eat a little dirt now and then? she has had access to minerals when she was running with the herd, but i am not sure how much if any of it she ate.. any help appreciated. thanks


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I'm not sure about the rest of what's happening with your cow, but we have experienced the eating dirt syndrome here. The vet said it's called "pica" just as in humans who eat dirt. It's caused by a mineral deficiency.

Was your cow on loose minerals or a mineral block. Does she have mineral available to her now?

Some cows, including our cow that was seen eating dirt, can't get enough minerals from a block. They need loose mineral mix available at all times.

Our cow was on a mineral block and was eating dirt. As soon as we changed to loose mineral, she quit eating dirt. I also have noticed her daughters tend to have the same problem. This particular cow is an extremely heavy milker and I suspect that had some bearing on her problem.

We have since gone to a Key-Lix tub supplement put out by Winn Feed in Utah, with great results.

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There is no salt limiter in the tub and it is very low in water content. This same cow eats the supplement like crazy in the spring when she freshens, then only licks it moderately the rest of the year. It is available to her, & all of the cows, year 'round.

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