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Friday, June 16, 2006

From a dear friend on cattle

Calves are easy as long as their big enough to eat grass. Bottle feeding the day olds is another story. Thank goodness I don't have to worry about that!

Pink eye is most often caused by dry, dusty conditions, and is seen in Herefords more than any other breeds. We had a problem with it once and had to put ointment in their eyes. My rancher uncle says they get over it on their own, but I always treated mine. These are Herefords if I remember correctly, luckily we are not yet suffering from dry, dust conditions, yet.

Just be sure you have plenty for them to eat and they won't be as tempted to cross a fence. They will need a bloat block or at least a mineral block-ask the feed store which they recommend in your area. We always kept a bloat block out for ours. Calves need hay for optimum growth, even if you have good grass. And we always gave ours sweet feed each day. We had raw pasture (we didn't fertilize) so we couldn't be sure the grass had enough protein for them. Giving them the sweet feed provided extra protein for them. I have seen bloat blocks out in the fields, my Brother-in-law did not bring one, nor did he bring hay.

Don't name them if you plan on cooking them later. My experience was to try to handle them each day to keep them semi-tame. It makes it easier to load them or doctor them later. I didn't name them. I call them by their tag numbers, but the brother-in-law did name them. I will try to handle them everyday. Unfortunately my husband has rigged the gates were I can't get into them. Have to have him correct that tonight.

If you have a corrall or loading pen, start feeding them in there (sweet feed). It makes it easier at loading time if they are comfortable in the pen. They are in a pen. We didn't have time to re-fence the field.

I am so jealous!!! Although, if I had calves this year, I would be selling them right now, or travelling the country trying to buy hay--which I would have to pay for by mortgaging the farm. It's bad down here right now. Your grass looks really good up there! That doesn't sound like fun. We have been getting a lot of rain.

Thank you my friend for that advice. I really needed it.

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