Sick calf

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Can a calf die from eating wild turkey droppings? A friend said he had 3 calves die and had an autopsy done on one and was told it was poisoning from turkey droppings. Have you heard of this? I have a sick 4 month old heifer that I found today and she was unable to get up. She was downhill against a tree. Finally got her turned, and she was unable to walk. She bawls and sounds like a bull. She has lots of gas and her rectum comes out a little when she bawls. She finally walked a little after a couple of hours, but she is still really weak. She is totally not normal acting. A friend said she has the same symptoms that his calves had before they died. I cannot find any information concerning this online. Any suggestions? Thanks!!
 

TCRanch

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Never heard of that either and we have a ton of turkeys that hang out around the cattle. Sounds like your little one has a prolapsed rectum and I would get her to the vet asap.
 

farmerjan

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There are some thoughts that the salmonella and coccidiosis in poultry can cause problems in cattle, especially calves. Then another vet said that it is species specific, so no problems....but I have had coccidiosis in calves for 5 years after I had used one section of the small barn for turkeys one year and then went back to using it for a calf pen. Yes it was cleaned out but not pressure washed or sanitized or anything.
That said, I am not sure why calves would be able to eat that much wild turkey droppings. Now cattle will eat poultry litter out of confinement poultry buildings like it was candy when it is piled in a field before it is spread. In fact poultry litter has been used as an ingredient in rations for cattle that are put on feed. Was very common here but has fallen off in popularity the last few years.

It sounds to me that if your calf was downhill against a tree and you had to get it away and turned around, it has bloated due to pressure that was on the gut tract, and possible pressure that the guts put against the lungs. They have been known to "suffocate" if they can't get rolled up and get the pressure off their lungs. The fact that it can now get up although weak, tells me that you were lucky to find it in time. I think that it will take a bit of time for the bloating to go down, providing you make sure it has water and some hay for bulk to help with the digestive process. You may need for the vet to drench it to counteract the bloat. It is also painful so that is probably why the bawling.
 
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I had actually found the heifer calf earlier in the day and it was bawling and was sitting up on its rear like it was getting up. But it did not get up. I mentioned to someone that I thought it was having problems. So it was a couple hours later when I found it up against the tree. When we finally got it up, it walked about 100 ft following cow. Then it went down and never got back up. It would not eat or drink. The rectum only came out a little when it bawled. The sound of the bawling was like a bull when he calling for the cows. So the trachea or something must have been involved. The little one died 24 hrs after we found it. I thought maybe pneumonia or something. It was foaming at the mouth at the end.

The strange thing is we lost a cow a week earlier. This cow had a lump under her throat that we had treated several times for lumpy jaw. She had it for a couple of years. She was doing fine for over a year and eating well. She went down and had a terrible time getting up. Then after 24 hours, it was almost impossible. We found her and she had fallen down a slope, and she died a hour later. I thought maybe the lump was cancer, and that was the problem. But now I am worried that it could be connected. We have 80 head and do not bring in any new cattle into our farm. Any ideas?
 

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