Scours problems that come and go
Between three to five times a year this farm has a "scours outbreak." All the calves born for a period of ten to fourteen days develop scours around seven to twelve days of age that last anywhere from five to ten days. "We don't lose very many calves other than those when we have these outbreaks." How many calves did you lose last year compared to the number that you started in the hutches? "I don't know as we have those numbers. But, it was not very many."
About one-half of the calves are fed their dam's milk when it is collected - anywhere from two to eight hours post calving. The other calves are fed milk from the refrigerator that is warmed to calf body temperature.
What information would be nice to have here? How about blood serum total protein levels in calves between one and seven days of age? Nope, don't do BSTP testing. How about bacteria counts on "as-fed" colostrum? Nope, have never done that. Do you keep a written record showing when the calf is born and when she gets her first feeding of colostrum? No.
Do you think you could do some of this testing? [You need to know that the herd vet is standing by my elbow during this conversation] "Yes. I know that Dr. xxxxxx has been suggesting that we do this during this since the first of the year."
And so goes the saga of the vet suggestions.
Looks like spring might be here in Vermont.