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Thread: Catle Rustling

  1. #1

    Catle Rustling

    Alyson and I went out cattle rustling today, or at least trying to scrounge up some cows for this new beef raising scheme of mine. I don't get over to the big farm much, but since I was there I got some pictures. Alyson would not cooperate so she is not in any of them, but I got a few calf pictures anyway. Some are Jersey/Holstein cross breeds,while the infant is just a Holstein.

    Perhaps its a stealth gloat, but our big farm is on a big hill...even bigger then the hill I live on and has a great view. I would say its what you think of when you think of Maine with its rolling hills and farms. On a good day you can see the White Mountains in NH, some 150 miles away. If you look real hard you can see some of the mountains in the background, but the picture does not do the view justice. Its ten times prettier then the picture shows. In a couple of weeks when the cows are out, it will be even prettier.









    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  2. #2
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    That farm picture is as American as a Norman Rockwell painting. Post another when things are green.
    Calves are nice. Getting them that way and raising to feeder size is (I believe) the most profitable way to be in the cattle business. Downside: it also is very high management. Those little suckers need to be taught how to drink water or they will die. I'm sure you know this but I learned the hard way.

  3. #3
    We had a very cold barn growing up so unfortunately we lost a lot of calves. Around this time of year it was not unusual to have 4 or 5 die in a week which was a true shame. For the bull calf's, being on a dairy farm it was no big deal, but to lose heifers certainly was and we lost more then our share of them. Thankfully we have rectified that problem now.

    As for teaching them to drink, yeah I remember that all too well. It was kind of cool to get the calf's to drink milk from a bottle, but to be honest with you, we did not have the time to do that. We typically took care of the calf's after milking and that got done at 11 PM or so. That meant we got out of the barn at midnight, and got up for school at 6 AM. Not a lot of sleep time, and definately no time to give a calf a bottle of milk. They learned to drink from a pail pretty quick.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  4. #4
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    Cold doesn't bother calves as much as drafts. We had one pen that after two years showed to be the poorest producer of all of the pens. Eventually found a hole in the glass window the size of a quarter that once fixed, that pen then averaged the same size and health as the other pens. So look for little things. There is evidence that sucking from a nipple creates more stomach mixture (the slobbers from the foam?) thus calves that nurse experience less problems with scours as the amount introduced into the stomach is mixed with saliva. There are barrels that have tubes that go to nipples so you can feed all at the same time from the same mixture. Pretty neat system. If the big farm brings fresh cows on daily/weekly, get the colostrum that they have to seperate and feed that.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Shively View Post
    Cold doesn't bother calves as much as drafts. We had one pen that after two years showed to be the poorest producer of all of the pens. Eventually found a hole in the glass window the size of a quarter that once fixed, that pen then averaged the same size and health as the other pens. So look for little things. There is evidence that sucking from a nipple creates more stomach mixture (the slobbers from the foam?) thus calves that nurse experience less problems with scours as the amount introduced into the stomach is mixed with saliva. There are barrels that have tubes that go to nipples so you can feed all at the same time from the same mixture. Pretty neat system. If the big farm brings fresh cows on daily/weekly, get the colostrum that they have to seperate and feed that.
    There is also some need to mix saliva from mature cattle into the feed of the calves, or have them feed from the same trough. I have not raised enough bottle babies to know how this is done without the presence of mature cattle. Somehow, they must get the necessary bacteria into the gut for the unique bovine digestive process.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Shively View Post
    There is evidence that sucking from a nipple creates more stomach mixture (the slobbers from the foam?) thus calves that nurse experience less problems with scours as the amount introduced into the stomach is mixed with saliva. There are barrels that have tubes that go to nipples so you can feed all at the same time from the same mixture. Pretty neat system.
    I know exactly what you are talking about Jon, but the way I understood it was slightly different. I was always told that a calf sucking on a bottle, whether from his Mom or from a person holding the bottle, made their esophagus curve upwards slightly and a lot straighter. This causes the milk to slide right past the first stomach and into the second stomach. This is HUGE because the first stomach has a lot of acids that breaks down the grass. In a calf, this fist stomach's acid also breaks down a lot of the good protein in the colostrum or milk replacer. If they drink out of a pail, it empties into this first stomach and the colostrum or milk replacer is mostly lost. That is the way it was explained to me anyway, but I could have been told wrong too.

    It was sad as a kid, our barn (cold and drafty now that you mention it) was hard on calf's. I remember loading two to three calves in the back of my pickup after a weekend to give to the coyote hunters who used the dead calves as bait. Surprisingly we lost very few calf's out in the wild to roaming coyotes. Only one kill would could attribute to coyotes.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Johnson View Post
    I know exactly what you are talking about Jon, but the way I understood it was slightly different. I was always told that a calf sucking on a bottle, whether from his Mom or from a person holding the bottle, made their esophagus curve upwards slightly and a lot straighter. This causes the milk to slide right past the first stomach and into the second stomach. This is HUGE because the first stomach has a lot of acids that breaks down the grass. In a calf, this fist stomach's acid also breaks down a lot of the good protein in the colostrum or milk replacer. If they drink out of a pail, it empties into this first stomach and the colostrum or milk replacer is mostly lost. That is the way it was explained to me anyway, but I could have been told wrong too.

    It was sad as a kid, our barn (cold and drafty now that you mention it) was hard on calf's. I remember loading two to three calves in the back of my pickup after a weekend to give to the coyote hunters who used the dead calves as bait. Surprisingly we lost very few calf's out in the wild to roaming coyotes. Only one kill would could attribute to coyotes.

    Where, then, does a bottle calf acquire the bacteria necessary for bovine digestion? My experience, and training, says there must be actual transmission between calf and mature animals. That is why it always was a milestone event to see calves start feeding out of the common trough. For cattle, sharing slobber is a good thing.

  8. #8
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    The bacteria needed for digestion is already started by the time the calf is born. Transmission from the mother in utero. Scours is many times created artifically through incorrect mixing of the replacement milk, hastened feedings, putting to a bucket to soon, temperature (incorrect, to hot or to cold), to much or to little formula. Quite easy to inflame a calf's stomach(s) actually.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Shively View Post
    The bacteria needed for digestion is already started by the time the calf is born. Transmission from the mother in utero.
    You have a source for this info.

    I am curious as a biologist who sees problems with how digestive bacteria can be transfered in the womb. I can see when the mom licks the calf after the birth but not from digestive tract across uterous into the calf..

  10. #10
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    I stand corrected.

    "Bacteria. It's interesting that we normally spend much of our time trying to avoid or kill bacteria. We buy bactericidal hand soap, wash our clothes with bactericidal detergent and scrub our dishes in scalding hot water with compounds that kill everything in sight. When the calf is first born, the rumen is sterile -- there are no bacteria present. However, by one day of age, a large concentration of bacteria can be found -- mostly aerobic (or oxygen-using) bacteria. These are introduced by exposure to the environments and by the cow licking the calf, especially around its muzzle (nose and mouth) and by the calf's nibbling on grass or other materials. Thereafter, the numbers and types of bacteria change as dry forage and feed intake occurs and the substrate available for fermentation changes. The numbers of total bacteria (per milliliter of rumen fluid) do not change dramatically, but the types of bacteria change as the calf begins to consume different types of pasture, hay and feed and depends less on milk in its diet. This results in a dramatic loss of aerobes and predominance of anaerobes (bacteria that live without oxygen) with increasing dry feed intake. When we examine the contents of the rumen we find billions of bacteria as well as other organisms such as protozoa, fungi, molds, etc. These groups are then made up by hundreds if not thousands of other sub-groups, many of which perform a specific function. Some are known as cellulolytic (cellulose degrading) bacteria. These are largely responsible for breaking down the fiber in the animal's diet. Some are proteolytic (protein degrading) and breakdown protein. Others break down starch, produce methane, and so on. The presence of the different bacteria and their function is related largely to the diet the animal is on. We'll get to that more in a minute. All in all, the number of "typical" rumen bacteria -- those found in adults -- become established by about two weeks after dry forage and feed intake commences." http://www.cattletoday.com/archive/2..._Today88.shtml

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