An esophageal tube feeder can be a lifeline for young calves, delivering colostrum, milk or electrolytes when they are unable to suckle a bottle. But incorrect use of these feeders can be dangerous or even deadly.
Grass tetany might be easily defined as a deficiency of magnesium, but for Dick Kurtz of Oregon, Mo., it just means trouble. He lost three cows in March to the disorder and is carefully watching a few more.
Increasing the liquid nutrients delivered to calves in cold weather is a highly recommended practice, and is done with the best of intentions. But abomassal bloat can be a deadly side effect for some calves.
Summer climate changes mean preweaned calves need more water in their diets to prevent dehydration. But calf and heifer specialist Sam Leadley says calves also need water year-around for optimal digestive development.
The health and productivity of young calves can be affected by a wide range of metabolic and pathogenic conditions. Among the maladies that can profoundly affect calves’ health is their intake and balance of sodium.