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TOPIC: pot bellied calves

pot bellied calves 17 May 2008 08:56 #12645

8 month old calves. eating well and growing but have pot bellies. Is that likely to be worms? (shouldn't be as farm hadn't been grazed and they were drenched just before coming here in Feb), Diet (they are on roughish grass with nice autumn regrowth)? or something else?
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pot bellied calves 17 May 2008 09:16 #195518

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Could you post pictures? How familiar are you with cattle? Sometimes what is described as a pot belly is gut-fill from grass. And some people describe their cattle as fat when their bellies stick out when indeed they're full of worms and their spines are visible through their skin. I am not suggesting either of these things are necessarily the case, but more information would be helpful.

However, resident worm levels on an ungrazed farm would depend on how long it had remained ungrazed and what species had last grazed it. If it really hasn't been grazed for a very long time, then pot bellies might mean your cattle have been doing it too hard through their early months on crap pasture which hasn't sustained their good growth and health.

8-month-old calves won't have built enough resistance to worm challenges yet, so a drench would be a good idea at this stage. Make sure you've a good idea of their maximum possible weight.
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pot bellied calves 17 May 2008 09:19 #195520

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huge number of questions before guessing what it might be

Breed of calves, pasture quality (poor quality feed will often make animals look potbellied due to low protein intake/malnutrition), copper status, selenium status, B12 status, worms

Calves can often look "potty" as youngsters - you need to look at the animal as a whole and ensure nutrition and parasite issues are being well managed.

Can you post pictures?

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pot bellied calves 17 May 2008 10:09 #195525

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Welcome to the forum Richelle. Pictures are often asked for on here, as a picture can speak a thousand words and its often harder to explain what an animal looks like, than is you post a few pictures. If you get stuck, look under FAQ on the top bar or if all else fails email Kate and ask for a rescue. :)
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LOTS of wild birds incl. 10 Kiwi and lots of Weka. We also have frogs and a Heading Dog called Lad.
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pot bellied calves 17 May 2008 10:16 #195526

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Pregnancy ????
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pot bellied calves 17 May 2008 10:24 #195528

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In an 8 month old calf, a pregnancy wouldn't show up yet as they couldn't be more than 3 or 4 months pregnant by that age.
135 acres in Bay of Islands, including around 90 acres of Native Bush.
13 Dexter cows,
4 heifers & 3 bulls.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry.
Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
Gotland Sheep and Polled Wiltshire Sheep.
LOTS of wild birds incl. 10 Kiwi and lots of Weka. We also have frogs and a Heading Dog called Lad.
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pot bellied calves 17 May 2008 11:26 #195532

thanks for replies so far. I'll get some photos posted asap. To answer what I can; the land hasn't had any stock on it for 3 years, so the grass was rank and coarse on the tops (hilly land) and very lush around the springs and stream (which run through all 3 paddocks grazed). They're Definitely not preggers as there's no bull anywhere near! We have just bought some drench and were planning to do that tomorrow anyway just in case. They are not in poor condition, just don't look quite right. I'm a newby so don't know much about deficiencies in animals (expert on plants!!). They are White face Freisian/Herefords which we are planning to keep till 15 months or so and sell. Cheers, Rich.
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pot bellied calves 17 May 2008 11:31 #195533

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if the majority of their diet has been rank/coarse grass then it could well be a gross nutritional propblem, ie, not enough protein.

There is some lush pasture around springs and streams - depends on the plant type, whether they are eating it, and whether liver fluke may be a problem in your area.

Pictures would be great - pictures of the stock and pictures of what they have been grazing

I love animals...they're delicious
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pot bellied calves 18 May 2008 19:00 #195734

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Richelle. I had the same problem the calves are 8 months old and were very potty...looked all wrong, they are up to date with worming etc but they were lively,,soft coats and bright eyes. they were always running around the paddock and looked happy and werent scouring, but to my untrained eye still looked like wormy puppies. I have put it down to a diet of too much hay as there wasnt any green grass around..now they are back on real grass they are slimming up quite quicky and dont look so bloated. I wonder about the long term affects. They are galloway x friesan however one of them who is more potty that the others and who has not recovered has more of a jersey look. Would post a picture but the OH has the camera.
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pot bellied calves 18 May 2008 22:11 #195786

http://www.lifestyleblock.co.nz/vforum/attachment.php?attachmentid=505&stc=1&d=1211104941
Here's a photo of one of them. They paddock they are in is behind her. We yarded and drenched them today and will put them onto the bottom paddock tomorrow which has lots of fresh lush grass. From the helpful comments above I think the main problem is that they are possibly not getting enough nutrition from the coarse grass. What supplement feeds would be best if any?
They weigh between 110-150kgs (all heifers) which is less than I expected. One of them also had quite bad 'dandruff'??

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pot bellied calves 18 May 2008 22:20 #195787

richelle;168524 wrote: http://www.lifestyleblock.co.nz/vforum/attachment.php?attachmentid=505&stc=1&d=1211104941
Here's a photo of one of them. They paddock they are in is behind her. We yarded and drenched them today and will put them onto the bottom paddock tomorrow which has lots of fresh lush grass. From the helpful comments above I think the main problem is that they are possibly not getting enough nutrition from the coarse grass. What supplement feeds would be best if any?
They weigh between 110-150kgs (all heifers) which is less than I expected. One of them also had quite bad 'dandruff'??
I add multi nuts as well as balage good qul. if you can get it and lots of good water also keep them moving as in dont let them graze to low so keep them on fresh pasture u may look at giving them a b12. if you have some straw this could help bring there Ruman stomach on via the roughage
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pot bellied calves 18 May 2008 22:23 #195788

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dandruff or LICE!!! a sever lice infestation could be the cause.
To my untrained eye they look healthy.

lol I checked one of my heifers a few weeks ago and she had all these black things in the hair along her back...without glass's at night I couldn't get a good look so scraped some out and under the light they had wings..her coat was full of winged ants type thing !!! only one cow was affected and they were gone the next day. curious...however i have since seen a lot of these bugs around including at work.
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pot bellied calves 18 May 2008 22:36 #195789

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That one doesn't look too outstandingly hideous. [;)] The coat is in healthy-looking condition, but I'd suspect underfeeding, from the pasture quality. Some sort of multi nut or mooslie would be a good idea, although long-term you'll presumably need to get the pasture in better condition. How many other animals are grazing the area and what methods do you have at your disposal to get the grass down so the better feed can come through?

Drench them and do another assessment in another couple of weeks and then a month and you should see improvement. :)
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 08:17 #195808

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Richelle, they look like ours, round tummies on sticks! :) We are feeding ours up on multinuts, sugar beet and lots of hay, as well as giving them the best grass (next doors' [}:)]) We find our littlies look pretty much this way all through their first winter, then come spring and the grass they pack on the bulk at a great rate, just in time for the freezer [:0] :D
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 10:10 #195839

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I have been trying to find a couple of photos to illustrate the difference between a properly fed calf and one which has received insufficient nutrition - sadly I have one such animal here this year, whose mother now lies dead at the bottom of a hill. The calf has had less milk than she needed all through her life (now nearly six months old) and had to start eating more grass earlier than her contemporaries. Fortunately she had access to good grass, since her toothless mother also needed that for survival and received preferential feeding. That calf looks not entirely dissimilar to your photo. I shall see what I can do during today. :)
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 10:32 #195842

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I often think that hand-reared calves get this potty look, possibly due to only beinf fed once or twice a day, as opposed to cow-reared calves who can fill their bellies from mum whenever they want. As Tigger says, they evenually grow out of it to some extent, although to my eye they never look quite 'right'.
"Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."
Hans Christian Anderson
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 10:54 #195848

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As a response to this thread - dash out to give my calves some multi-nuts - not interested - add some molasses - still not interested. Methinks they are not hungry :)
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 11:00 #195851

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If they have been on poor/rough pasture then they have probably had plenty of bulk and fibre to fill their bellies. Protein may be a limiting issue, as the protein requirement in feed for young growing animals is significantly higher than it is for mature stock. if you were wanting to supplement a higher protein feed then anything legume based would be a good start, ie, clover,lucerne, peas etc. Remember that as a plant ages it becomes more "wood like" and the protein content will drop. It then goes without saying that a pasture that is going rank and does not have have much legume in it will often be too low in protein for young growing animals to be performing optimally

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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 11:14 #195853

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Access to SALT is absolutely essential on rough pasture or hay. The salt is needed so that the bugs in the rumen can digest the rank grass more effectively. Molasses also provides an energy source for the rumen bugs. Using a multimineral salt block will help (if you have no sheep, use a cattle copper one). If you want to give salt AND molasses get a 50kg tub of Winslow salt lick.
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 11:49 #195857

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LR - yes salt can be an issue on those types of feed - but more glaring would be that those feeds are also low in protein and/or energy. You can poke all the salt you like in but if they are protein and/or energy deficient you will not achieve anything.

Energy and protein would be the first / back to basics nutritional problems that growing animals on a poor quality diet are faced with. A salt block will not fix "agroceryocis" (ie, not enough good quality groceries/feed), and no amount of energy supplement will help if they are still limited in protein.
http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex3527

My suggestion....ensure basics are addressed first - energy, protein - then also make sure you cover the basic minerals that are an issue re growth rates in your area (in my area they would be copper and selenium - yours may be different)

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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 12:02 #195864

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re lucerne, even if you can't get lucerne hay, you can get lucerne pellets from some feed places...
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 12:59 #195890

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As I enjoy seeing pics of other animals

I reckon these 9 month old steers are in good nick (though slightly rotund in pic 2)





These heifers are about 7 months - this one is a bit pot bellied



This one is well pot bellied but looks good to me (other than a bit short) otherwise - though despite being PB on paper I reckon some Highland Cattle crept in somewhere :)

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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 13:05 #195895

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A better (less flattering) pic of Midget



Inger - does she look PB Dexter to you?
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 13:06 #195897

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There is such a difference in shapes and condition etc between beef breeds and Fresian x Herefords its like comparing apples and oranges [:I]
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 13:10 #195900

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Not a lot of difference between Richelle's X and my Midget in overall shape
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 13:13 #195901

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The beef dairy crosses to me look a lot bonier/angular, esp round the rump...and a lot less solid around the neck at this age. But yes, the tummy is similar...
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 14:02 #195923

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I would suggest making sure that they have had some lice treatment, as that is why they may have dandruff, but dont worry heaps of calves are looking like this at the moment, even if they have been getting pretty good feed, and its just a waiting game, until the grass gets going again. We have been giving our ones good grass, hay, and salt, and have drenced them and put Lice treatment on them, and the other day brought them in again and did Genesis pouron them all, to make sure that they are not feeding the worms, or lice.
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 14:38 #195928

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Here's a seven-month-old just-weaned calf. She looks as I expect a healthy calf to look, having received enough nutrition to grow to her potential. She has some Jersey in her background (1/8) and is 3/4 Angus. Her mother was 460kg and she was 250kg at weaning.

The second calf is dead Ivy's daughter (just under six months). There's a thinness about her neck and a frailness in her face which reminds me of dairy-weaner calves. Some of that is breed related, but a lot of it is about how well they're fed and how healthy and robust they are/n't.

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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 15:23 #195939

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Isla - the first one looks more than 250 kgs (looks Dexter sized) or is that the photo angle?
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 15:39 #195942

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It may not be that yours has got Highland blood in it GBPeter - My Red Devon X Dexters have gone just as "total hearthrug" as your one, if not more so, in a very short space of time...
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 15:45 #195944

Good pics Isla, a good contrast, especially knowing they're from the same herd and eating the same grass in the same conditions etc.

It's funny how often I can look at an animal's face these days, and tell that there is something not quite right. I learnt that from my old horse Red, who had "I'm struggling" written all over his face but it wasn't until I looked at a photo of him that I could see it for myself.

Now I have a bit more experience, I can see it a bit better, but I'm still not as good as I'd like to be.
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 16:12 #195952

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GBpeter;168685 wrote: Isla - the first one looks more than 250 kgs (looks Dexter sized) or is that the photo angle?
She's just a particularly mature-looking animal, I think. You're right though, because two days later I weighed her for drenching and she was 257kg. [;)]
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 18:48 #195985

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Has Ivys daughter had her copper yet?

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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 20:20 #196001

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cowvet;168734 wrote: Has Ivys daughter had her copper yet?
Yes, she had copper on 18 March, Gen Ultra on 18 Feb and again the other day and her growth rates hadn't picked up as a result of any of it. I suspect she had self-weaned, since Ivy was losing condition and probably just didn't have much of anything left to give. She's about 160kg, so pretty small - she's grown 800g/day since birth at 22kg.
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 22:41 #196027

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Here are another couple for comparison of adequate and less than optimal feeding. The first is the daughter of a particularly nice R10 cow. The calf is almost six months old and weighs 250kg. The second is the daughter of a nice R2 heifer which didn't quite have enough milk for the requirments of the calf; she is 6.7 months old and weighs just under 200kg.

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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 23:02 #196032

It really does show in the face doesn't it, sort of more jowly and mature in the bigger calf, and just more stocky all over.
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pot bellied calves 19 May 2008 23:06 #196033

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That's what I think. Health in any creature really shines out and a lack of something just looks ... not quite right, somehow. Being able to pick that when you're used to looking at your own animals every day is the hard part.
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pot bellied calves 20 May 2008 09:19 #196083

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Mmmm, big difference. Is the little one's fluffy coat a sign of her poorer condition? I have seen dairy crosses with fluff like that and wondered if it's to do with condition, or just how their coats happen to be.
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pot bellied calves 20 May 2008 10:10 #196107

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I think the quality of the hair is quite indicative. A calf with thick glossy hair is generally in better condition than one with a whispy coat. These two share some relatives and are both pedigree cattle.
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