Calves Get Diarrhea Too

Greetings from Minnesota. The weather surprised me today, and I’ll bet it got close to 70 this afternoon. Well, maybe 65, but I was sweating like a pig during my mid-afternoon run. More on that later.

From the title, I’ll bet you’re already thinking this post is going to be SUPER FUN, right? 😕 I figure I’ve been writing about all sorts of feel-good stuff like cute baby calves, farmers feeding the world and a cuddly white dog. Maybe you’re sick of all the sunshine and happiness? Well, even if you’re not, farming is not always as idyllic as it may seem.

Enter every mother’s and calf feeder’s worst nightmare. Diarrhea. Yes, I did use that word in my title. Ok, it’s certainly not the worst, but it’s also not so fun. I’m sure the mothers who follow my blog will concur. I’ll bet when little kids have an upset tummy they get whiny and fussy and don’t want to finish their food. Calves aren’t that different.

I was nicely going along distributing bottles of milk several nights ago when I see this lovely splat (mid left).

This poor little darling has what is officially known as Neonatal Calf Diarrhea, which just affects young calves. It isn’t too serious, and we simply add 20cc of a liquid medication that looks and smells a lot like Pepto-Bismol to that calf’s milk for 3 days. Usually clears right up. It’s important for us to look carefully at the calves and notice if they are having this, eh, little problem. If it doesn’t get noticed until they fail to finish their bottle at feeding time then they’re usually more dehydrated. If this happens we’ll give them a bottle of water mixed with electrolytes as needed while they get better.

Along with animal care, corn harvest still continues at the farm. J and his dad finished up one field and were moving to another the other direction from the farm on Sunday. So both tractors, plus the grain cart (left) and 2 gravity boxes (center) were back at the farm all at once to get unloaded.

Running Tales

As for my sweating-like-a-pig run… I didn’t really feel like doing it. I was just sort of sore, tired, and didn’t have a direct plan. I also knew I probably wouldn’t have time to run Wed or Thurs because of work stuff (my 8-5ish work stuff), and I needed to get in something. I settled on heading over to the track, which sounded fun for some reason. I eecked out 3 x 500m with 300m recovery, along with a warm-up and cool-down to and from the track. I wasn’t ambitious enough to take real splits, but I think the 500’s were about 7:00/mile pace? The daily stats fix looks fine, except I guess I should have slowed down a little for my supposed cool-down.

For easy runs or days when I just want to take my mind off things I like to listen to podcasts. Today was that kind of day. So, I learned about the curse of Macbeth. A little known fact about me is that I’m a history nerd. I’ve always liked the historical bent of almost everything, and I found a perfect match for my interest with the “Stuff You Missed in History Class” Podcasts. They’re free, and you can just search for them and download right on iTunes. I’m always looking for new ones to check out. (I like the gamut from travel, food and fashion to politics and comedy.)

Got any good podcasts to share? Any strange ailments that have plagued you recently? (no graphic details please ;-))

About Lisa

Hi, I'm Lisa. Dairy farmer's wife and Minnesotan to the core, I write about rural farm life, running down country roads, and the food, faith, and family that bind everything together. Follow along on my journey.
This entry was posted in Baby Calf Care, Cows, Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Calves Get Diarrhea Too

  1. sweatykid says:

    I love podcasts! I usually go for biology or cool evolutionary medical ones. I forget the name of the podcast I usually look for… thanks for reminding me how much I like them and need to reintroduce them to my life.

    Poor calves. Diarrhea is no fun!!

  2. Brit says:

    I only have spinning podcasts right now. My iPod is full and I still have a stupid phone. :-/

    I have some calf questions… How much does a newborn calf typically weigh? How about as it grows? Like 1 month, 2 months, etc?

    • Brit says:

      I’m trying to get an understanding of the scale of cleanup that was necessary after this “accident”. My giant puppy has had tummy problems and let’s just say that it is a lot different than if we had a Papillion or something.

      • Lisa says:

        Usually it’s not too serious 🙂 Calves are always pooping, and we’re adding fresh bedding/straw to make sure the hutch is clean and dry anyway. Now if a baby calf lived in the house it might be a different story…

    • Lisa says:

      Ooh – good questions! Birth weight will depend on breed and gender. Most of our cows are Holstein and their calves will be around 100 lbs. with the males averaging higher. The range can honestly be from about 60 lbs (premature) – 140 in my experience. The Jersey is the smallest dairy breed (we have a few), and their calves average more like 70 pounds. I couldn’t find any scholarly sources for average birth weights, but I would say these are pretty typical. This link has some good info on how much they grow – scroll down to about page 4 for some graphs. http://www.das.psu.edu/research-extension/dairy/nutrition/pdf/ud006.pdf
      A calf should double in weight to about 200 pounds by 2 months, and they will be full grown in about 2 years. Adult weight for a Holstein cow is 1200-1600+ pounds, so they are gaining way more than a pound/day on average.

      • Brit says:

        Thanks for the graph! I think that is really interesting and I especially appreciate that is it from Penn State. My freshman dorm at PSU looked out on one of the dairy farming buildings. We could always tell which way the wind was blowing.

  3. I also really like Stuff you Missed in History class. I listen to The Fit Cast (also on itunes) each week, while it’s definitely geared more towards lifting and that kind of training, there are always a lot of good nutrition and fat loss questions and topics, too. The hosts and guests are always the best in the business!

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