cows in field

Recent Odairy Discussion, May, 2019

By Liz Bawden, NODPA Board President

A producer was seeing a lot of calf scours in calves 7 to 10 days old. His vet advised him this was E. coli based on the aggressive symptoms and the age of the calves at onset. To protect the newborn calves, he began vaccinating with First Defense gel, which should provide immunity to E.coli, but he still noticed scours occurring at day 7. “We've been supporting the sick ones with electrolytes 1-2x daily and have tried a couple tinctures, though they didn't seem to do much.

We've also used Bovi-Sera vaccine on the sick ones, but haven't seen a great response.” He asked the group if anyone had tried feeding apple cider vinegar in the calf’s milk, as he had seen a recent article that claimed great health benefits for the calf. One farmer in the article claimed that by adding a tablespoon of cider vinegar to the calf’s bottle, they virtually eliminated calf scours on their farm. He asked for recommendations from farmers on the list. Two farmers suggested the following protocols: We have “instituted a regimen of Crystal Creek Calf Shield and Milk Mate in the milk, starting at about 3 days when the calves are off bottles and on group feeders, and that is continued until weaning. We also started using a product called First Arrival (by DCB Ag Products) for the first two weeks of a calf's life--also added to the milk. Another product paired with that is Last Stand, a paste that comes in a tube that we give if any calf does come down with scours. We do vaccinate our cows with ScourGuard at dry-off, and feed First Defense gel tubes shortly after birth.”

A vet agreed that the timing of the scours onset was consistent with E.coli or Rota-Corona virus. He suggested vaccinating dry cows with ScourGuard 4KC to enrich colostral antibodies, feed milk spiked with yogurt for the first week of life, and give 1cc of Amplimune under the skin a few days before typical onset. He suggested that if an onset does occur, withhold milk for 24 hours, feeding only electrolytes with Mallow (Althea) and Slippery Elm. And another farmer suggested that Crystal Creek’s Calf 180 is a good choice an acute situation, while Calf Shield is best as a routine preventative. She also suggested a drench of organic apple cider vinegar changes the gut pH enough to give the calf’s immune system a necessary advantage. She also has been mixing OrganiCalf milk replacer into the dry calf starter, and feels that it really made a difference in the health and vigor of the calves.

Another farmer shared her protocol for calf scours: first, she reduces the amount of milk fed by one-third, being careful it’s at the right temperature. If that doesn’t help, she adds Bio-Mos to the milk. If it continues to get worse, she adds a tablespoon of Ferro and a raw egg (shaken up)to their milk bottle, and supplements with some electrolytes between feedings.

A producer asked if anyone had used an Einbock Tine Air Seeder for reseeding or rejuvenating pastures, and one farmer responded that just the Tine Weeder itself can be very useful. “We have an Einbock Tine Weeder that is very useful for rejuvenating pastures. We do not have the air seeder but once we take the Einbock over the field, grasses and clovers spring up usually from seeds now exposed to light. Other uses are: leveling the soil after tilling, spreading compost from a pile dumped on a field, covering a newly seeded pasture with a small bit of soil.”