calf not thriving

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6 years 8 months ago - 6 years 8 months ago #535728 by Rokker
Replied by Rokker on topic calf not thriving
Thanks for the update - I was about to ask!

What is his overall condition like? Bright eyes? Perky ears? Normal-looking poos? Does he look happy in general, or does he stand in a corner hunched up with head low? Does his tummy look normal and not overly hollowed-in just in front of the hips?

By now he will be around 10 weeks old (since he was 7 or 8 when you first asked on Sep 17th). How much hard feed (pellets, hay, etc) is he eating, and is he drinking much water? Most calves will eagerly guzzle milk for months if you let them, but every season we have the odd few that develop a liking for hard feed more than the milk and never seem to take much. If he's taking 2 litres twice a day as well as other feed then I wouldn't be too worried.

Do NOT cross this paddock! ... Unless you can do it in 9 seconds, 'cos the bull can do it in 10!
Last edit: 6 years 8 months ago by Rokker.

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6 years 8 months ago #535733 by Revill25
Replied by Revill25 on topic calf not thriving
Hi Rokker . Hes not really happy, stands and lays around alot. I havent seen him frolick around like his friend does in the evening. I havent seen him run at all, nothing more than slow trot if your trying to catch him. Hes very hollow around the hips. Hes doesnt eat much mooslie just sniffs it. Head is held low but eyes bright. Poos normal and wees too.We have to separate him from his friend for feeding cos his mate will eat/drink all of his own and everyone elses too. .

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6 years 8 months ago #535742 by Rokker
Replied by Rokker on topic calf not thriving
If your vet hasn't found any other clinical signs of disease, and his vital signs (temperature, respiration, etc) are all normal, then I would guess (and it's only a guess) that you simply have an ill-thrifty calf that is still slowly trying to recover from a poor start and/or earlier infections. All you really can do is keep on maintaining his fluid intake and making sure he doesn't start going downhill again.

One product that we've had success with is Nutrimol. It's a probiotic type of product that stimulates the immune system and improves appetite. For calves you only need a couple of mLs added to the milk, so you won't need a huge quantity and I'm not sure of the minimum pack size. Another similar product is CalfBrew (available from Farmlands) which is more designed for calves, and you can buy it in 1.25L and 5L packs.

Do NOT cross this paddock! ... Unless you can do it in 9 seconds, 'cos the bull can do it in 10!
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6 years 8 months ago #535748 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic calf not thriving
I have two at the moment where I have to hand feed the calf meal to them, one because it had a poor start and isn't as pushy as the rest around the food trough, the other is just being a pain in the proverbial.

I find if I give a litre of electrolytes during the daytime either via oral drench or bottle, they are much brighter the following day. That is of course fine if you are home....

One of my ICU babies from last year is down the back with its main herd and looking at it now you would never guess it spent a lot of time in ICU. Sometimes they just take extra work....
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6 years 8 months ago #535854 by Revill25
Replied by Revill25 on topic calf not thriving
Bought CalfBrew, and have been giving him 10ml in his milk twice a day. Not sure if its doing anything as his status hasn't changed. We just keep trying anything and everything. Hes chewing a bit of hay now but still not really interested in milk or moozlie. Fingers crossed he just picks up one day. People are starting to say to me ' calf still sick" Crappy weather this weekend not helping, had to keep him in barn as I don't want him getting too wet and cold and using what little calories he getting to keep warm.
At least hes got a chance with us.
Thanks everyone
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6 years 8 months ago #535855 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic calf not thriving
That calf I talk about above, well I considered it well sheltered in the ICU pen in the barn, but I put a calf rug on it all the same and it sprung into life and has since gone back into junior herd..... just one of those things. Perhaps it was the older company in the pen.
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6 years 8 months ago #535859 by Rokker
Replied by Rokker on topic calf not thriving
That was a good move, Max2. Anything you can do to maintain warmth in a young calf is always going to be beneficial, especially for those born at the onset of the coldest months. Many fail to thrive simply because they get cold. That causes them to lose energy, become lethargic and lose appetite, which compounds the problem even more and they spiral downhill. A simple test is to put your fingers in its mouth - a hypothermic calf feels cold around its muzzle, in its mouth and tongue.

Do NOT cross this paddock! ... Unless you can do it in 9 seconds, 'cos the bull can do it in 10!
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6 years 8 months ago #535974 by Revill25
Replied by Revill25 on topic calf not thriving
Hi all
Just an update.
Sorry to say our little black calf passed away on Thursday. He went off his feet on Monday and we were unable to get him back up, he lost all strength in his legs. We tried him with another shot of antibiotics but I think whatever was wrong with him had too strong a grip and he was too weak to fight it. The last few days of wet and cold weather didn't help even though he was in a sheltered barn. At least hes not suffering any more. His friend, the jersey calf is happy with our ram lamb and other animals. Pictures are from earlier days
Thanks for all your help and advice.

Hazel
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6 years 8 months ago #535975 by Anakei
Replied by Anakei on topic calf not thriving
What a shame :( You tried so hard.

Urban mini farmer and guerilla gardener
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6 years 8 months ago #535978 by Rokker
Replied by Rokker on topic calf not thriving
That's a real pity after all the work you put in. It's almost certain the damage to his gut was really done early on during the first bouts of sickness. It becomes a vicious cycle . . . poor immunity = onset of disease = damage to gut = poor nutrient uptake = loss of energy and worsening immunity = more sickness = more damage to gut . . . etc. It becomes extremely difficult for the calf to fight the downward spiral. That's why getting those all-important antibodies into the newborn within the first few hours of life is critical. You certainly gave him excellent care during his fight for survival - sadly, this time, it just wasn't to be.

Do NOT cross this paddock! ... Unless you can do it in 9 seconds, 'cos the bull can do it in 10!
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