Saturday, July 10, 2010


I would like to introduce ya'll to Misty. Misty is my six year old purebred Jersey. She has been part of our family since she was born. I had her mother- Pebbles-who unfortunately died due to a back injury. Misty calved yesterday, but with complications. She ended up with milk fever.

You know, we have had cattle now for nearly 20 years. Frank was raised on a farm and he is 44. It wasn't until last year that we heard of milk fever in cows. We had a cow that was black Angus cross with a Holstein. She was probably about 10 years old. Anyways, she ended up with milk fever. And the only way we knew she had it, because the previous fall, our Pomeranian cross who had a litter of pups-they were four weeks old-ended up with milk fever. We just about lost Goldie. We didn't know dogs could get milk fever. Frank noticed 263 had the same signs as the dog did-staggering like she was drunk.

Our neighbour came over and gave 263 this stuff called CAL-PLUS, a 500 ml bottle. Thank God for good neighbours. She had to be given several shots all over her body just under the skin. The proper word for this is subcutaneous injections. The cow was up within a couple of hours.

Now, this is where this particular story turns heartbreaking. I had another Jersey, named Miss Betsey. I had her only for a year and she was about 9 years old. She too had milk fever. Frank went to the neighbours and asked if they had any Cal-Plus that we good borrow. Jim came on over too. While Frank was administrating the drug, Jim and I pulled the calf. Yup, Betsey had milk fever during calving. Betsey was doing great by the next morning. So I milked her mostly out, and bottled fed the calf, and froze the rest of the colostrum. A couple of hours later, Betsey was dead. Broke my heart. Cried like a baby. I loved that cow. Now, here is the learning curve-1) DON'T MILK THE COW!!! 2) Betsey needed more of the Cal-Plus. Side Note: Misty ended up raising this calf- Miss Dolly. Will introduce her at a later date.

After Betsey was buried-yup my hubby is a nice guy-I got onto the net and researched the hell out of this milk fever thing and feeling guilty with everything I read. I have discovered that it isn't that common in beef cattle, and is more prevalent in dairy breeds. but guess what? It is more common in the Jersey Breed. No I am not saying anything to turn anybody off of owning a Jersey for a family milk cow. I love this breed, and I love my girls. They are so adorable, cute, and they are just like big puppy dogs. I will always have Jerseys.

Well, to make this rather long story a little bit shorter, Misty is doing fine-so far. Cross your fingers. No, I haven't milked her. Nor have I fed her any rolled oats. I have been bottle feeding the little bull calf and trying to teach him to suckle his mama. Today I went to the vet. I purchased another bottle of Cal-Plus for just in case. You know Murphy's Law! Come Monday, I am phoning a forage specialist and find out what kind of pasture grass I need for my girls. Also getting a better mineral supplement too!!

There are a few books I would like to recommend to anybody that wants to keep livestock, regardless what it is: The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable by Juliette de Bairachli Levy---this book is older published originally 1952 but the last time was 1991. I did find it online at Chapters. The next book: Keeping Livestock Healthy by N. Bruce Haynes, D.V.M. The Merck Veterinary Manual-- I have the ninth edition. Now these three books cover sheep, horses, goats, pigs, and cows. They are a very good references. Also I have a book called The Cattle Heath Handbook written by Heather Smith Thomas (I like her). All of my books either come from Amazon or Chapters.

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