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Moldy Grain?

Discussion in 'Diseases & Injuries - Cattle' started by Mark Suplee, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. Oct 9, 2018
    Mark Suplee

    Mark Suplee Exploring the pasture

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    Good morning,

    I have a new issue with my Heifer. My wife called me at work to let me know that our Heifer was limping and had scours. My assumption was the limp was due to her just getting up after having been laying down at night and the scours were because we had just fed them spent brewer's grain for the first time. When I got home that evening she was not as active as normal. I attempted to feed her cattle cubes which she usually comes running for but she was acting scared of me (we did just chase them around the day before trying to get them on fresh grass... unsuccessfully) and disinterested in eating the cubes. I don't think she had a limp, but was seemingly week in the legs. As I walked back to the house I noticed a large "block" of mold in the brewers grain. I covered the grain with a tarp to keep them out. They were also without water for the day as i had moved it to the area with fresh grass, but they didn't appear to have found it. This morning when I left for work she was standing. I think she'll ultimately be fine, but I was hoping to learn from this.

    I guess my question is: Does anyone know the symptoms of cattle eating moldy grain. I have done research but I can't find any symptoms that would manifest externally. i.e. they were all issues with ovulation/pregnancy/some rumen effects which might explain the scours, but nothing to do with lethargy or loss of appetite. Or are there any other ideas about what this might be.

    Thank you,

    Mark Suplee
    Cleveland, TX
    1 heifer, 1 steer, red baldies. ~7 months.
     
  2. Oct 9, 2018
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    Hey Mark... @greybeard is also in your local area and may be able to offer insight/assistance. Other than that, I'll tag a couple other cattle/cow folks who may be able to help. @farmerjan @Wehner Homestead and there are others as well... Good luck and I hope it's nothing serious.
     
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  3. Oct 9, 2018
    jhm47

    jhm47 True BYH Addict

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    Mark: If I read this correctly, you might have just allowed your cattle unrestricted access to the brewers grain. Is that correct? If so, you may have created some problems. I am very familiar with wet distillers grains, which are fairly similar to brewers grain. If cattle are overdosed on wdg, they can contract polio, which is sometimes fatal. This is a deficiency of vitamin B, and you can correct this with injections of it. The early symptoms are: agitation, weakness, and blindness. As it progresses, the animal(s) will walk around blindly, bump into fences, and just act like they are drunk. They don't eat or drink, even if you put their noses in water or feed. Eventually they just die.

    My experience was with wdg made from corn at an ethanol plant, but I'm fairly sure that spent brewers grains is very similar. Limiting the animals to small amounts is vital, and if they overdose you can sometimes correct the problem with injections of B vitamins. It will take several injections to fully reverse the symptoms. Good luck!
     
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  4. Oct 9, 2018
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    Thanks for the input JHM... I was going to tag you but I don't see you on very much...
     
  5. Oct 9, 2018
    Mark Suplee

    Mark Suplee Exploring the pasture

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    @jhm47 that is correct. They still aren't very friendly with us, we are working with them. But I don't foresee myself getting close enough to give them the injection.

    That being said, It doesn't appear that they ate all that much of it. They avoided it for about 2 days then started eating it for only about 2 days, in that time i don't think they ate more than maybe 10 gallons (maybe 30 pounds) between the 2 of them. Do you think she will be able to recover without the injections? The Steer is up and munching on the fresh grass.
     
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  6. Oct 9, 2018
    Wehner Homestead

    Wehner Homestead Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    Okay so you are dealing with a couple of issues here...(I’m not trying to be rude, just to the point. Please feel free to ask questions, I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.)

    1) No animal should ever be fed moldy grain or hay and here we don’t even pick through it. A moldy bake of hay isn’t even used for bedding. Won’t take a chance of harming my stock. If it’s not something that can be returned, it’s trashed.
    2) The proper way to transition any animal’s feed is gradually. Most recommend 3/4 old with 1/4 new, then 1/2 and 1/2, finally 3/4 new and 1/4 old. Each step should take at least three days while watching for changes in appetite and monitoring stool appearance. If they aren’t cleaning it up or stool becomes loose, don’t make the transition until they seem to improve.
    3) Free choice feed shouldn’t be an option. Full feed is often terminology used when feeding cattle BUT careful steps are taken to get them to that point. Goal is 10% of bodyweight twice daily. We weigh out feed to dump in twice daily. This allows us to monitor how they tolerate the increase. We start low at about 2# each at weaning (450-600#) and increase by about 2# each every 3+ days as they show signs of tolerating. Make sure they clean it all up within 15 minutes. Full feed refers to maximum intake but not feee choice of a truckload.
    4) Foundering is a huge issue with overeating. You can kill an animal or ruin its gut. It’s painful and they usually have an overgrowth of hoof after.
    5) Bloat can also accompany overeating or not enough forage in the diet of a ruminant. They need to have free access to hay or plenty of grass available at all times.
    6) Make a chute. You need a set-up to corral them into a small pen. Research will show you that coming to feed is one way to move cattle. Additionally, use a call and they will follow you. Our is “Hup! C’mon Girls! Suh Calf!” Two gates can be used to form a chute. Running cows from you isn’t the way to make them friendly. (Please give more details on how/where you were trying to move them.)
    7) Call a vet! Something is up! It’ll be educational for you and most vets that will come to the house have a chute that they will bring for a fee. We can’t see her. A vet needs to lay eyes on her and can treat accordingly. Most meds you’d need come from the vet anyway.

    Please keep us posted and I hope all turns out well.
     
  7. Oct 9, 2018
    Wehner Homestead

    Wehner Homestead Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    Afterthought...a tarp isn’t going to protect the feed from consumption. Cows will eat tarps. Not good for their digestion either.

    It’s a red flag to me that it took them two days to start eating the distiller’s grain. They were telling you that something was wrong with it.
     
  8. Oct 9, 2018
    Mark Suplee

    Mark Suplee Exploring the pasture

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    @Wehner Homestead Don't worry, it takes a lot for me to consider something "rude," particularly when you're being factual. I have a lot to learn in this game.
    To clarify.
    1) The grain was fresh when it was given to them. We get it directly from the brewer.
    2) Understandable, I assumed they would eat some as they pleased but continue to eat the grass as the majority of feed. I believe that animals tend to balance their nutritional needs naturally as long as it is offered.
    4) Can you elaborate on Foundering?
    5) They are on pasture and have access to plenty of grass, We are trying to control their access to paddocks but currently they have free roam of the property. They haven't strayed far from their previous paddock. We have been giving them cattle cubes, but I would consider that a treat not feed.
    6) Ill try and craft up a chute and work on calling them when we bring them cubes. We have kept them in a paddock with barbed wire on 2 sides and hot polywire on the other 2. I set up an electric netting paddock paddock and a line of poly wire leading to it. My wife and I tried to walk behind them and on their side to guide them along the poly wire to the new paddock. They just ended up running around us. We didn't want to scare them so we quit fairly soon after starting.

    Is there anything you would suggest covering it with? It is a lot and would be next to impossible for me to move without equipment, which I don't have.

    She seems to be getting better on her own. As I mentioned she really didn't eat very much at all. My wife is telling me that the scours seem to be going away.
    I'll keep you posted.
     
  9. Oct 9, 2018
    Wehner Homestead

    Wehner Homestead Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    @Mark Suplee i need to edit #3... it should say 3%. I was thinking faster than I could type.
     
  10. Oct 9, 2018
    Wehner Homestead

    Wehner Homestead Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    1) :hide Sorry. I wasn’t trying to say that you intentionally gave them spoiled grain, it was more of a teaching moment about opening a bag that was spoiled.
    2) Animals in the wild before humans intervened could balance their diet. Between domestication and man-made creations (fencing and feed), it’s impossibke for them to self-regulate without our assistance. Think of it like this: do you ever overeat on the holidays or when it’s your favorite meal?
    3) See my edit to 3% instead of 10% that I originally mentioned.
    4) Foundering- sometimes called laminitis.
    This question answers it succinctly.
    https://articles.extension.org/pages/35740/how-can-i-prevent-founder-laminitis-in-my-cattle
    Another resource with much greater detail.
    https://www.merckvetmanual.com/musculoskeletal-system/lameness-in-cattle/laminitis-in-cattle
    Most people have heard of horses foundering but it occurs in cattle, sheep, and goats also that I know of. It typically occurs when an animal gains access to the feed room.
    5) We don’t grain our brood herd regularly. It’s a treat for them. When you start them back on feed, yell for them a particular way and they’ll come when you yell. Just make sure you always have something for them.
    6) You’ll need some cattle gates. Barbed wire and poly fence won’t work for getting them in an alley and in your “chute.” (@greybeard could you draw up something to help him understand what I’m getting at since you are awesome with images??) Also, to run cattle, you have to be serious. You need a stick, to look and feel big, to be able to stare them down, and there has to be an obvious opening of where you want them to go. If they don’t see an “escape” they will balk at every opportunity.

    As far as the feed, fence it off somehow. I don’t know if you still plan to feed it or not but that would eliminate potential access. Then the tarp would work. The weather will cause it to spoil faster then you can feed it. Also keep in mind that any moisture under the tarp will also cause mold. (Most people that feed distillers grain have a feedlot or dairy that they are feeding a hundred or more animals each day to use it before it spoils.)

    That’s good news.