cows in field

Recent Odairy Discussion, February, 2014

By Liz Bawden, Organic Dairy Producer, NODPA President

Added February 11, 2014.

A farmer needed to treat a cow with a retained placenta. Suggestions included using a daily 60cc infusion of calendula tincture or calendula tincture mixed with a colostrum whey product, a daily infusion with dextrose and Uterine Care, and one farmer had success with infusing hydrogen peroxide. Additionally, it was recommended to give Caulophyllum tincture on day 1 and day 2 after calving, then switch to homeopathic Sabina and Pyrogen three times a day starting at day 4 post-calving. Another remedy is to insert Iodine pills starting at about day 4 at a dose of one gram (four pills) per day until the placenta is passed, and the cervix begins to close, usually by day 8. Uterine Bolus, a product from Van Beek Scientific was also recommended. Another farmer recommends Crystal Creek’s Fresh Cow Bolus -- she inserts 2 into the uterus daily until the placenta drops or can easily be pulled out.

After treating her down cow for milkfever with an IV bottle of Calcium, a producer asked for suggestions in choosing an appropriate homeopathic remedy. She described the cow as an older Jersey, short and wide, and a personality that makes her “very much the Queen of the herd”. It was suggested that she use Calc carb, since she is a big and blocky cow. (For more flighty and “dairy type” cows, the recommended remedy would be Calc phos.) Mag phos would be indicated if there are muscle tremors. It was pointed out that the homeopathics enable the cow to make better use of the mineral (calcium), but if her bloodstream is truly deficient in calcium, she will need more actual mineral added. After dosing with Calc carb, the cow seemed improved, so the farmer asked what to do next, and how frequently an animal can be dosed. Standard recommendations for the administration of homeopathic remedies were explained: Dose once an hour for 3 or 4 hours, and then re-assess. If there is improvement, no need to redose. If the symptoms have changed, it may indicate a different remedy.

A researcher asked for details on applying poultry litter on pastures. A farmer responded that they had used it on cool season pasture grasses and hay ground. He usually spread it raw (6 to 10 weeks old), although sometimes it was aged in a pile for a couple months. He felt it was best applied just before or during a rain, and must be spread fine using a litter spreader or slinger. He reported that he has spread as much as 4 T/Acre on rye grass over the season, split into 1/2 to 2T/Acre applications. He feels that it increases the protein in the grass, its overall yield, and extends the grazing season. He cautions that too much can push the P levels up too high. Another farmer agreed that the high P levels can be a problem, leading to high K levels in forages. He suggests that poultry litter be limited to 2T/Acre, and be applied with 1 ton of high calcium lime. The calcium will help to offset the P in the soil, and bring up the calcium in the plants to offset the K.

An outbreak of Clostridia perfringens in young calves was a catastrophe for a producer. Calves were “dropping like flies”, and they resorted to conventional treatments to cure the remaining sick calves. The vet recommended vaccinating with Ultrabac 7 for just this year. The producer asked for advice from the group about a vaccination protocol. Another producer related her experience with blackleg, another Clostridial infection. She gives her calves an oral vaccine called Bovine Ecolizer (for Clostridia perfringens and e-coli scours) as soon as possible after birth. They also vaccinate and booster around weaning with Alpha 7 (for Clostridia chauveoi, septicum, novyi, sordellii, and perfringens Type C and D). They have had no new cases of blackleg since beginning this vaccination protocol. u