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Weak Calves

gertman

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Help me help a friend. My buddy has had 2 calves born within the last week that appear normal on day 1 but on the 2nd or 3rd day they became weak, and he could tell they were not nursing. Doesn't copper deficiency cause weak calves. I think it may also be genetic because the cows are sired by the same bull, and the dam of one cow is the grandam of the other so its a close family line. What else can cause weak calves? Give us your thoughts until he sees the vet tomorrow.
 

grubbie

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Hopefully they are getting milk somehow,.....dumb question, I know. Milk deficiency can darn sure cause a weak calf.
 

msscamp

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gertman":2ljpru8u said:
Doesn't copper deficiency cause weak calves.

I don't know about copper, but selenium deficiency will cause weak calves. Is your friend making sure the calves are getting up and nursing within 30 minutes of birth?
 

gertman

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With his off the farm job he gets to the farm pretty late so I doubt he's watching them nurse soon after birth. The vet commented on the large teats the cows have and they are difficult for newborns to nurse. The vet also said that an udder that appears to be full of milk can contain alot of fatty tissue instead. Thinking back a few years I retained heifers from a Gert bull and had to cull some of them due to large teats. His cattle are Beefmasters are balloon teats more common among Brahman influenced breeds?
 

m&kCattle

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well we just lost one to jaundice ( see related post ) It was week, we tubed her 3 times. I guess the jaundice makes the nauseous and they don't have desire to eat. 48 hours and she was dead. Had yellow in the eyes and gums, after removing the liver it was like a chunk of butter, all yellow. B 12 and sunlight is supposed to help but she was to far gone. I have know idea what caused it, vet said she was just born that way.
 

chippie

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The vet is correct about the fat in the udder. We had a Jersey cow whose udder was very pretty, but she put her food into fat instead of making milk. She was a fat dairy cow and her udder was fatty too.

If the cows had big teats, it sounds like the calves never nursed and went downhill (starved).
 

msscamp

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gertman":yhf0lxb0 said:
The vet commented on the large teats the cows have and they are difficult for newborns to nurse. The vet also said that an udder that appears to be full of milk can contain alot of fatty tissue instead. Thinking back a few years I retained heifers from a Gert bull and had to cull some of them due to large teats. His cattle are Beefmasters are balloon teats more common among Brahman influenced breeds?

Bottle/balloon tits tend to be an indication of poor udder structure, are hereditary, and should be high on the list of qualities to cull for. Having never been around Beefmaster's, I cannot say whether they have a higher incidence of bottle/balloon tits than other breeds or not. I wouldn't think so, but I could be wrong on that. Fatty tissue in the udder is usually not a problem unless the animal was over conditioned as a heifer. If your friend is going to continue with pairs, he needs to find someone to watch his cattle while he is at work. Making sure the calves get colostrum is vital, the window of absorbtion gets smaller with every hour that passes following birth, and nursing will make the difference between having live calves vs dead calves.
 

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