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maryjane

6764 Posts


Posted - Oct 15 2015 :  8:00:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thought a discussion about calcium supplements just before or after delivery and then again 12 hours later would be helpful.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~

Caren

166 Posts


Posted - Feb 25 2016 :  1:01:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Does anyone give magnesium paste (CMPK) after calving for milk fever prevention?
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maryjane

6764 Posts


Posted - Feb 25 2016 :  2:19:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have some here but it's pretty invasive all things considered during that moment in time right after they've birthed. I just couldn't bring myself to do it, either the paste (I know my girls would hate it) or the probe down the gullet with a bolus. I did pulverize a bolus and mix it with grain and molasses to feed to Maizy with her second calf but after a couple of bites she wouldn't have anything to do with it.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Feb 25 2016 :  3:52:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
this just solved a mystery for me, so thank you to caren and mary jane. the blissfully fated day i heard about mj selling sally o'mally, lover boy and i had gone to see another cow and they were telling us all about this white tube with initials on it that you gave your cow and it completely prevented milk fever. some kind of miracle they called it.

lately i have been trying to remember what the initials were to see what in the world they were talking about. this is it. now at least my mind is free of thought on it.

mary jane, do you keep it on hand "just in case" you see the signs, or did you get it under someone's advice and then decide against using it? just curious.

if dr sarah made anything for milk fever i would just buy it to utilize via osmosis per charlene's preferred use of dr sarah's products ;>

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")

Edited by - txbikergirl on Feb 25 2016 3:56:38 PM
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NellieBelle

10930 Posts


Posted - Feb 25 2016 :  4:19:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
No expert here but I believe the best way to prevent milk fever is adjusting and maintaining the diet before delivery, the "dry period." My vet told me that it (milk fever) usually happens to Jersey cows that are older. I personally don't know if this is the case, it seems to me that it's an ongoing learning curve. But like MaryJane I adjust the diet during the dry period.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Feb 25 2016 :  4:28:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
yes janet, i agree and that is what i am doing as well. but would you keep a tube of the stuff on hand in case you saw the signs to give while the vet was on the way? being rural its nice to be prepared ;>

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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NellieBelle

10930 Posts


Posted - Feb 25 2016 :  4:44:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good question. My vet wanted to send a Calcium bolus home with me when I asked about milk fever, ( Nellie's first calving) but I told him no. I was nervous with my first calving. As my cows age I may decide to keep some on hand.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Feb 25 2016 :  4:56:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thanks janet, i appreciate your opinion and experience. it helps me weigh all the options. this will be our first calving so i am the nervous nelly here ;>

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")

Edited by - txbikergirl on Feb 25 2016 4:58:34 PM
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maryjane

6764 Posts


Posted - Feb 25 2016 :  7:43:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The problem for me is the act of administering either the gel or the bolus. The CMPK gel contents are dispensed in the same way you dispense the contents of a tube of construction caulk using a gun.

Here's what's on the tube:

Administration: Place the tube in a dosing gun and remove the cap. Hold the head of the cow in a normal to slightly elevated position and carefully place the nozzle into the back of the mouth. Administer the entire contents of one tube per feeding. Do not give to cows that are unable to swallow. Allow animal free access to water after administration.

Dosage: Give one tube within 6 to 12 hours prior to calving, Give another tube within 6 to 12 hours after calving.



The white tube in the bottom of the photo has one very large pill (bolus) in it. Instructions for use are:

"If right handed, place yourself at the cow's right side. Grab the cow's upper jaw with your left hand and raise its head. Keep the cow's head high and a little towards yourself. Gently guide the applicator loaded with one bolus into the cow's mouth. When you feel resistance, gently guide the applicator over the tongue. When it's as far back in the cow's mouth as possible press the handle to release bolus. Give one bolus prior to or immediately after calving and a second bolus twelve hours later."



When Maizy got sick (and eventually died from hardware disease), I had a vet out here several times. She was due to calve soon so one idea was that she kept going down because she needed calcium. We got her to stand up and put her head in the stanchion for a bolus. Since a cow gags and fights it with all her strength, we also tied her head to the side and then put a stainless steel hollow tube down her throat so there wasn't any chance she'd bite the applicator and end up with splinters of plastic in her throat and stomach. Maizy tried to go down on her knees and because we'd tied her head, I thought she was going to break her neck. Even with a skilled vet helping me, I was as traumatized as Maizy when it was over. She kept spitting it out no matter how far we got it down her throat. It erupted back out several times. The next day, the vet came with gel. We barely got that in--same thing, lots of trauma for all involved. Neither of the procedures are something I could do myself without a lot more experience and training.

And then there's the fine print. "Do not use on cows lying down or showing signs of milk fever. Do not use excessive force when giving the bolus to the cow. Bolus should not be used for initial treatment of milk fever."

It's a whole lot of trauma if a cow doesn't need it. Once they need it, it's too late so you'd need to have a vet come out and inject directly into a vein which provides a quick turn-around.

Since I've never had a case of milk fever (I'm tempted to think it's more a problem with high milk volume cows), my decision is to do what I can through diet and then have a vet on call should one of my girls go down with milk fever.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Feb 25 2016 :  8:15:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've also been told that the risk of milk fever goes up with each calving. It stands to reason that if a cow is bred early and often milk fever becomes more of a factor.
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maryjane

6764 Posts


Posted - Feb 26 2016 :  04:42:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have an extra CMPK gun (new) and two tubes of gel (expiration date of 4/17) I'd be happy to ship out to anyone here wanting to try it on their cow.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Feb 26 2016 :  11:37:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
After your description and posted directions, I bet everyone is cautious about wanting to have the CMPK gun and gel on hand! :) Goodness ...

Cindy wrote: if dr sarah made anything for milk fever i would just buy it to utilize via osmosis per charlene's preferred use of dr sarah's products ;>

What do you mean, Cindy? I just use Dr. Sarah's products on myself! :) And, of course, the cows when they need it ... haha

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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maryjane

6764 Posts


Posted - Feb 26 2016 :  11:50:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
:) I also thought I should have added to my description: But don't take my word for it, start off by trying to get a much smaller, less intrusive magnet down your cow's throat using a plunger. You very well might be a better man, I mean, candidate for CMPK/gel administration than me:)

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Feb 26 2016 :  11:55:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I let the vet put our cows' magnets down their throat. Whatever unpleasant procedure that the vet can do that I don't have to do, then the choice is obvious!

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Feb 26 2016 :  12:45:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
charlene, that was a reference to the post where you just bought dr sarah's products online and the health issue cleared up before they even arrived.. so you deduced that her products were so good you just needed to buy them for them to work ;>

one of my fave posts of all time.

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Feb 26 2016 :  5:18:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
mary jane, after reading your post and looking at the photos i decided i wasn't up to the challenge. goodness, the people who told us how great it was made it sound like you just squeeze this treat like tube into your cow and it was done. not that i was taking their word and going to do it, but i didn't get the impression it was so awful. i prefer the method of just approaching diet correctly to avoid it all if possible, and am so grateful for everyone's advice here.

learn something new every day, keeps life exciting for sure.

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Feb 27 2016 :  09:08:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Cindy, I still LOVE Dr. Sarah's products and yes, they do work almost miraculously! :)

Now, I have some goats who love sucking on a syringe when I needed to give them meds for an infection a few years ago ... it was banana flavored and they came running when they saw me with it! Maybe the gel just needs a better flavor?

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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maryjane

6764 Posts


Posted - Feb 28 2016 :  3:37:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Run girls-about-to-deliver-in-6-to-12-hours, RUN! The calcium bolus plunger man cometh.

I mean, can you imagine the warm fuzzy feelings this thing is about to deliver? And then deja-vu-all-over-again 6 to 12 hours after your sweetheart delivers?


MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Feb 28 2016 :  5:39:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
down right scary.

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Feb 28 2016 :  5:41:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can just see the cows running across the fields with their swollen udders swinging ... poor girls, but I suppose if they really needed it then so be it.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Feb 29 2016 :  05:21:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've heard it is quite caustic and actually irritates their throats and can "burn" as well. So it can put them off their feed and water and add another issue if it isn't truly needed.
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Caren

166 Posts


Posted - Feb 29 2016 :  09:41:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you for the input, very valuable information.
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Feb 29 2016 :  09:47:22 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Lesson learned, be pro-active so no need for re-active solutions.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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maryjane

6764 Posts


Posted - Feb 29 2016 :  10:43:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I also think what we're up against is the fact that vet care (and supplies) and even the online information we have access to comes from a commercial standpoint. Generally those cows are bigger and the emotional investment is different--it tends to be more of a monetary investment. When I bump up against a problem, I feel like I have to dig through mountains of irrelevant solutions that have no practical application for me. Sometimes it's a mere customize job, other times I feel like I'm reinventing the wheel.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Apr 17 2016 :  10:13:08 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
i am moving my comments on "late pregnancy nutrition" to this thread as maryjane reminded me of it, and the reality is that the concern over nutrition at this stage is all centered towards avoiding the dreaded milk fever.

i have been reading all over, but this kinda summed up what maryjane was referencing, and in terms i could understand (i am a numbers person, and need the numbers otherwise i don't know what is good versus bad, etc.).
http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/management_and_nutrition/nutrition_dairy_cattle/nutritional_requirements_of_dairy_cattle.html
from the "Calcium and Phosphorus" section towards the end...
"When calculating calcium requirements, newer nutritional models take into account the variability in calcium availability from different sources. This availability generally ranges from 75%–85% for inorganic calcium supplements to a low of 30% for forage sources of calcium. This approach makes it difficult to generate general recommendations for total dietary calcium concentrations across various diets. Generally, diets with large portions of forage from legume sources will have minimum calcium concentration requirements in the range of 0.71%–0.75%, while diets with forages from primarily grass (including corn silage) sources will have minimum calcium concentration requirements in the range of 0.42%–0.47%.

Two approaches are taken with respect to the calcium supply for dry cows, each with the objective of preventing milk fever, or parturient paresis (see Parturient Paresis in Cows). One approach is to place cows in a calcium-deficient state during the last 2–3 wk of gestation; the rationale is to stimulate parathyroid hormone secretion and skeletal calcium mobilization before calving. This makes calcium homeostatic mechanisms more responsive at the time of parturition, allowing cows to maintain serum calcium concentrations during lactation. This approach requires diets with calcium concentrations near 0.3% of dry matter. Such diets are difficult to formulate with available feedstuffs while still meeting other nutritional requirements. Another approach is to feed an acidifying diet, usually referred to as a diet with a low or negative dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD). The low-calcium diet approach is not additive with the DCAD approach to milk fever prevention. When low-DCAD diets are fed, total dietary calcium concentrations should be near 0.9%, which is substantially greater than the requirement for a dry cow on a conventional diet."


and here is where they comment on DMI:
"In mature cows, DMI as a percentage of body weight is lowest during the nonlactating, or dry, period. In most cows, DMI declines to its lowest rate in the last 2–3 wk of gestation. Typical DMI during this period is <2% of body wt/day, with intake rates depressed more in fat cows than in thin ones. Feed intake during this period has an important relationship to postpartum health, with low DMI and associated prepartum negative energy balance increasing the risk of postpartum disease. After calving, DMI increases as milk production increases; however, the rate of increase in feed consumption is such that energy intake lags behind energy requirements for the first several weeks of lactation."

Our situation:
  • lover boy believes our pasture is closer to the .4% grass concentration than the .7% legume concentration
  • the dairy feed we serve is in the .2% - .25% range
my first thoughts, if my thought process is correct, given all this lush pasture right now i should just take her off everything 2 weeks before she calves. is this what everyone else thinks it says? or in one of the last stmts where it says total dietary calcium concentrations should be near .9% does that mean keep her on the dairy feed since that is . 2% and the pasture would be and additional .4-.6%... to bring her to the .9%. and the last section on low DMI being a health risk also concerns me.

and then, i need to take into account that the dairy feed is only at the . 2% if in fact i feed them as much as they recommend, when in reality i have always used it as a supplement/treat and never fed the amounts for her weight that they say..

i am more confused now but will work my way through it. i had thought two weeks ago to remove everything but pasture and dry hay for the last few weeks, and for some reason got so confused in the last few days and was muddled. in fact, i had instructed lover boy to stop her grain a week ago and totally forgot that...

there is one broad overriding concept that i have to reconcile with everything else:
- if we have only two weeks to calve, and we have lush and nutritional pastures, then i shouldn't be capable to create deficient nutrition in her by eliminating outside inputs
- and wouldn't pulling everything else from her at this point be the conservative approach as it removes any chance of over consumption of alfalfa, calcium, etc. (but leave the dry hay free choice for her)
- and isn't this how nature works best? did we as humans in fact create this milk fever common occurrence by messing with the cows diet, wherein if given a healthy landscape and we left them alone for these past few weeks they would be ok
- and i have read several places that pulling all grain supplements a month or so before calving (when cow is dry of course) is best as it lets the gut work at its healthiest and not deal with the added grain. the natural rumen state is restored as it concentrates on what is normal in preparation for calving.
- and then when she calves, and i as the human create artifical stress on her body by increasing her milk supply i return to supplementing her diet with good healthy grain and stuff so that i dont tax her at that time

does anyone have any thoughts? i know i'll comprehend this better in a week when i take vacation and am not so tired, but i need to get it right starting now as we only have three weeks to calve... so the luxury of complete understanding isn't available to me at this exact moment. sigh

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")

Edited by - txbikergirl on Apr 17 2016 10:55:49 AM
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Apr 17 2016 :  11:11:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
i am trying to understand more about DMI and found a good article here about it (at least in terms i could understand) http://articles.extension.org/pages/19660/maximizing-dry-matter-intake-from-pastures

"A general rule of thumb for dairy cows is that they will eat 1.8–2.2% of body weight from forage DM. When pastures are managed well, they are highly digestible and 2.2% is more realistic. Research with cows fed only grass/clover pasture has shown that they will eat 3 to 3.25% of body weight. The 2.2% figure is a good starting point when grain will be supplemented. Some cows will eat more than 2.2% of body weight due to their production level or genetic merit."

if we are making decision on what/how much to feed cows then i guess we have to understand how to determine what they are getting on pasture. given we are heavy pasture grazers here, and our cows are grazing 12-13 hours per day our answers will be different from others with less pasture during certain seasons, or less acreage, or more/less quality of pasture.

this is all fascinating to me, but a bit confusing. i'll get there eventually.

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")

Edited by - txbikergirl on Apr 17 2016 11:13:11 AM
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