worms in bottle calves

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regolith

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This is a new farm to me, and I know several never-drenched calves died here, loaded with ostertagia before I took over (I'd seen a couple of calves die for the same reason the previous year, which had been examined by the vet so I knew what *that* looked like). So I've been a bit wary of putting the calves out behind the calf shed as there's no doubt in my mind that the whole area where calves were last year is likely to be loaded with worms.
Normally I drench the calves quite young - six to ten weeks, then every two or three months after, and normally see very few signs of worm infestation. On this farm - I can use drench because the livestock aren't certified organic, but then I would have to hold the calves on a quarantine area.

So I guess the question is - if you have young calves on grass and you don't drench them, how fast would you expect to see loose dung?

I've got a group of twenty calves three to six weeks old that have been out of the calf shed full time for about three days, days only in the shed at night since about a week ago. Shortly after letting them access to grass I saw a calf with a white smear on its side - obviously picked up from some-one else with loose dung - so cut the milk back slightly from 4.5 litres daily to 4, and waited to see what would happen. Normally I'd be seeing the first signs of rotavirus going through the mob by now. Now - about half the mob have dirty tails, but it's not milk scours, it's pasty grey like worm scours.
I moved them this afternoon onto better grass away from the buildings. Will be turning the next group out onto grass in a few days.
 

wbvs58

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They ingest the 3rd stage larvae which forms a nodule in the abomasum which then moults a couple of times to get to the adult. From larvae to egg laying adult takes 3 weeks. If it is the adult that causes scours then your answer is 3wks, however if the nodules cause irritation and a heavey load of them interfers with digestion then I guess it could be sooner, but I still think it would be a couple of weeks.
I am no expert, I just looked this up in my old Parasitology book for what it is worth.
Ken
 
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regolith

regolith

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Thanks. I thought 6 - 7 days seemed awfully quick - most also had access to grass for their first week of life but since there's a three week spread in age they wouldn't all get loose at once.
Maybe it is the rotavirus rearing its ugly head again. The area they're in now should be low risk for either worms or virus - 20 calves on 1.8 ha good regrowth with a shelter belt. I'll be watching to see how they go anyway.
 
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regolith

regolith

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ah - just thought too, this is also about the third or fourth day since I started mixing the grower meal with the starter. They're not eating much yet, and I've done it the same way every year - still, it is a diet change.
 
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regolith

regolith

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Looks like milk scours now :-( Gone very loose, mostly grey some white.

I'll get a sample into the vet and see what they can get out of it - if it's rotavirus I guess this'll be the last year I take the risk of not vaccinating the cows.
 
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regolith

regolith

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Calves had practically stopped scouring by the time the results came back - and they were inconclusive. One sample positive for rotavirus and crypto, the other negative for everything.
nope, I didn't start them on kelp powder. Didn't do anything in fact, they cleared up on their own. Lets hope it stays that way.
 

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