Concerned about calf

speckled6

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Hi all,
I searched, but couldn't find anything that matches where I'm at...and I don't think it's an emergency, at least I hope not.
I've never had or even been around cow's before, but DH worked on farms as a teen just to give you an idea where I'm at knowledge-wise.
Ok, we bought 3 jersey steer calves just over a week ago. They are 3-4 months old and were bottle feed until a few days before we bought them. When they were off the bottle they were taken from their calf hut to a group pen and given calf starter and water. The farm we bought them from dehorned and turned them into steers day 1 after birth, then the calves were all "double vaccinated and poured"
One of the steers has had a light cough since we brought them home. Now I noticed he has runny poops (not watery or a different color or even different odor, just spreads more when it hits the ground) and his backside has poop around his tail, but the other 2 don't.
DH says the steer is fine because he eats and runs and plays with the other 2 and the loose poop is just from starting on pasture (mostly alfalfa, we let them roam and graze it starting 24 hours after bringing them home)
I'm a worrier. I don't want anything to happen to the calf because I didn't act when I should have.
So... should I be worried? Is there something I can do on my own before calling a vet? At what point do I need to say I've done what I can and it's time to call the vet?
This calf has bright, clear eyes, no runny nose, eats very well, drinks plenty of water, runs and plays with the other calves, is always with the other 2, stands square just like the other 2, the coughs are dry/light and non-productive (think a human clearing their throat or a sneeze almost), there are no signs other than the loose stools and the cough which happens randomly, but daily several times a day)
We have them on the same calf starter they were getting at the farm too, but I also went 2 days ago to the feed store and bought them a stress bucket with vitamins and minerals in it to make sure they're getting what they need. They seem to like it. I'd noticed the loose stools the day before that, but on the ground so wasn't sure which one it came from, the poop on this one's backside now seems to indicate it's only him having it)
So any thoughts? What would you suggest?
Sorry for the long post, I just want to give all the info you might need. I'm in Southwest WI too if that helps at all.
Thank you for any responses,
jean
 

Blue Sky

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Actually I have some of the same questions. Mine seems frisky enough but strains when he poops and the result looks like scour might be around the corner. Also he is a reluctant nurser but will eat.
 

jhm47

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Sounds to me like it's nothing to be worried about. I'd worry more about bloat if they're on alfalfa pasture. You might want to get some bloat blocks just in case.
 

WyndSyrin

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From my experience with a bottle calf I can tell you that loose stool as long as it is of the pudding consistency is quite normal. Older cows will have the runny poop as well. Worry if the stool is nothing but water. Then you have scours and if not treated quickly can be dangerous to a calf. on that Steer that has poop on his backside and tail you might want to take a wet wipe and clean it off.

As long as that cough does not sound rough and wet, and believe me you will know what that sounds like, then I would not worry too much about it.

Blue Sky- with your Calf I would treat for scours asap before it becomes a problem. for the reluctant nursing I would say if you can corner him and then put the bottle to him.
 

Blue Sky

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Thanks WyndSyrin I have meds meds ready He ate well. My Android phone behaves very strangely on this site. Slow or no typing. Bear with me :confused:
 

Eteda

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sometimes .... you can gust give unflavored pedialyte instead of the bottle when they have scours for about 24-48 hours maybe 72. especially since it is eating grain, or forage. scours equil dehydration if they get bad enough so consider replacing the electrolytes. I think the milk makes his stomach hurt since he has coccidiosis or some other bug in the gut and he is smart enough to know not to drink milk. That is why he has backed off. However if you medicate the milk, or use medicated milk it might be easier to get him to take his meds. I know sheep are't cows, but they are very similar to each other as I have raised both. My comments come from my vet and what he has me do for my lambs when they scour. I administer oral coccidians by syringe and bottle feed unflavored pedialyte. Farm stores will have packets to mix up of electrolytes. the combo electrolytes and vitamins is good also. in the chicken department instead of the cow department you can find individual packets that will make a gallon at a time instead of having to figure out the math on the cow /water trough ratio getting down to a 2 quart bottle thing.
 

farmerjan

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Do not mix electrolytes with milk. Feed separately at different feedings. Some other medications can be mixed with the milk, read the labels.
I would also be much more concerned about too much alfalfa causing bloat, and too much green pasture will cause some loose manure. Some animals are just more prone to getting loose. If all other signs are "normal" then I would not get too excited about it. I would never graze alfalfa for any extended period of time, too rich for their system. Those calves are too young for that much rich grazing. Adding the stress bucket which I assume has a molasses base will only increase his loose manure. Not that it is bad but I would much rather see you have a TM salt block with some loose mineral available. Some animals will prefer the loose and I have a couple of cows that just don't like it so at least I know they are getting something in the red TM salt block. I put the salt block in the mineral feeder and pour the loose around it.
It might be a combination of changing too many things all at once too. And come on, realize that every animal is like every person; some have different responses to things than others. Not everyone will have a bm every 5.6 hours and all look exactly like the next one....depends on what they are eating and lots of other things. I seriously would look into some very plain orchard grass or timothy hay for some more roughage and limit the amount of alfalfa these calves are eating. It is great protein, don't get me wrong, but even my dairy cows only get a couple of leafs of alfalfa hay per each cow a day so that I don't get into any problems. Too much may also cause them to founder like too much grain can.
 

Eteda

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This time of year the old tall summer grass if you have any is full of carbohydrates and can cause founder also. Ive a lamb now shut up on dry hay. I've got to watch her carbs and protien carefully. It happened last year to two of my sheep. Im watching them close this year. Farmer Jan whats the best for founder. banamine for inflammation? what else can I do for her. she is not to bad but lays down more than the rest of the herd. her feet are a tiny bit warm but not hot or painful when felt. just not cold like the other lambs her age. she is the one that had photosense this past thursday. she is 6 months old.
 

speckled6

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Thanks for the replies everyone.
I will get a salt block asap and add that. The pasture is a mixture of all sorts of things, but the lower half is mainly alfalfa and we can block that section off.
We have grass hay (I think that's what DH called it) coming day after tomorrow.
The calf is looking less poopy today. He's still eating really well and playing more. The cough seems to be getting less frequent as well.
I'm still going to keep an eye on him (all of them, but him especially) but I'm hoping he's in the clear.
Thanks again!
jean
 

farmerjan

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It sounds to me that it was just a changing of alot of things all at once especially if the calf seems to be a little better as time goes on. Maybe the cough is a result of an allergic reaction to something in this pasture he was not exposed to before and maybe he just got a lungful of some dust/pollen and it is working it's way out of his system. If possible, try letting them have a small section of the alfalfa in the pasture at a time so they get the benefit of the high quality protein and minerals that the plants deep roots bring up from the lower soil, but not enough so that they are spending more than a couple of hours on it. Like an electric wire or tape, that you can teach them that they need to respect the electric and it will allow you to let them have a small section at a time to eat. I think once you also have some dry hay available, you will see the manure even out and not be so loose in the one. One other thing is worms but you said they were "poured" so I am assuming pour on wormer.
One other thing, if the vaccination was a live virus, it will sometimes cause a reaction of sorts like a cough, which is the way it is causing the system to form the immune response. I am not sure what double vaccination is.
Just watch them; clear eyes, eating good, running and playing, all are signs there really is nothing wrong. I think you are doing good, sometimes people tend to over think it. Be observant but don't get over wrought over every little thing. If one seems to be off for more than 24-36 hours, then it is time to consider things. They are more resilient than a bottle baby, and can take a little feeling off for a day or two. A bottle calf is more fragile so I think you did good to get calves a little bit older.
 

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