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Old 17th May 2008, 08:56 AM   #1
richelle
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pot bellied calves

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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Old 17th May 2008, 09:16 AM   #2
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Re: pot bellied calves

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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Old 17th May 2008, 09:19 AM   #3
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Re: pot bellied calves

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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Old 17th May 2008, 10:09 AM   #4
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Re: pot bellied calves

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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Old 17th May 2008, 10:16 AM   #5
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Re: pot bellied calves

Pregnancy ????
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Old 17th May 2008, 10:24 AM   #6
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Re: pot bellied calves

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.
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Old 17th May 2008, 11:26 AM   #7
richelle
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Re: pot bellied calves

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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Old 17th May 2008, 11:31 AM   #8
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Re: pot bellied calves

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
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Old 18th May 2008, 07:00 PM   #9
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Re: pot bellied calves

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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Old 18th May 2008, 10:11 PM   #10
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Post Re: pot bellied calves

http://www.lifestyleblock.co.nz/vfor...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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Old 18th May 2008, 10:20 PM   #11
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Re: pot bellied calves

Quote:
Originally Posted by richelle View Post
http://www.lifestyleblock.co.nz/vfor...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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Old 18th May 2008, 10:23 PM   #12
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Re: pot bellied calves

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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Old 18th May 2008, 10:36 PM   #13
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Re: pot bellied calves

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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Old 19th May 2008, 08:17 AM   #14
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Re: pot bellied calves

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
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Old 19th May 2008, 10:10 AM   #15
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Re: pot bellied calves

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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Old 19th May 2008, 10:32 AM   #16
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Re: pot bellied calves

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'.
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Old 19th May 2008, 10:54 AM   #17
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Re: pot bellied calves

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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Old 19th May 2008, 11:00 AM   #18
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Re: pot bellied calves

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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Old 19th May 2008, 11:14 AM   #19
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Re: pot bellied calves

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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Old 19th May 2008, 11:49 AM   #20
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Re: pot bellied calves

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/$departm.../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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Old 19th May 2008, 12:02 PM   #21
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Re: pot bellied calves

re lucerne, even if you can't get lucerne hay, you can get lucerne pellets from some feed places...
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Old 19th May 2008, 12:59 PM   #22
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Re: pot bellied calves

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)

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y16...r_O/Steer1.jpg

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y16...teersMay08.jpg

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

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y16...eiferMay08.jpg

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

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y16...r_O/Reddy1.jpg

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Old 19th May 2008, 01:05 PM   #23
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Re: pot bellied calves

A better (less flattering) pic of Midget

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y16...r_O/Reddy2.jpg

Inger - does she look PB Dexter to you?
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Old 19th May 2008, 01:06 PM   #24
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Re: pot bellied calves

There is such a difference in shapes and condition etc between beef breeds and Fresian x Herefords its like comparing apples and oranges
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Old 19th May 2008, 01:10 PM   #25
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Re: pot bellied calves

Not a lot of difference between Richelle's X and my Midget in overall shape
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