I went out early and watched the cows at Cade’s to see and signs of heat. I don’t know that they were quite used to me being there because they spent a lot of time staring at me and not at each other. There was one cow that had a standing mount though.
This is the inside of the grinder Cade uses on the corn for the feed mix. I think it also mixes different things together.
You put the raw material in a shoot that has kind of a cork screw shape. It rotates and pushes the material up and inside.
We picked up the oats from a silo down the road and Cade scooped enough to fill two drums with 250 lb. each.
I helped shovel smaller bucket fulls into the mixer but it is tough with stuff so heavy. I could sort of scoot the drums around in the truck bed but that was as far as I got there.
The thing about the dust that you can see in the silo is how it can make you skin itch. If you get a lot on you or in your eyes, it is almost like you have a skin rash itch without the rash.
This is a wider picture of the whole machine. When the mix is all done it includes: ground corn, oats, molasses, protein pellet (Dane thought they were probably made of soy beans, and salt. I don’t think this is an exhaustive list of ingredients but it is most of them.
The vet came back to vaccinations the calves and we built a make shift shoot to send them down one by one. The guys took gates and attached them to each other and a couple of us held them so the calves wouldn’t nock it over. There were quite a few that needed their shots and they got around it and out of the barn once but it went really smoothly for the most part.
Dane said we vaccinated for a lot of things but the big ones were brucellosis, which doesn’t really exist in Iowa anymore because of the vaccine. Vet’s are required to give calves this vaccine for several reasons. One being the symtoms it causes in cows. They include: aborted calves, retained afterbirth and arthritic joins.
Another reason for vaccinating for brucellosis is that the disease can be spread to humans through unpasteurized milk and through contact with infected animals. It has been known by many names over the years but mainly as Malta Fever or Mediterranean Fever in humans. The main symptoms for humans are fevers, headaches, joint pain, chills, weakness and more. It got the nick name “undulant” fever because of the inconstant fever spikes that untreated people got from it. Finally, the disease can be chronic and may reoccur even years later.
There are very few cases in the United States today but like other vaccinated illnesses, it was, at one point, a serious problem.
The Pink Eye vaccine was another important shot the calves got that day. It’s official name is infectious bovine kerato-conjuntivitis or IBK. The bacterium that causes it produces a toxin that attacks the corea and surrounding area of the eye and erodes the surface causing inflammation. The disease can spread quickly through the herd and happens more often in dusty places with flies and bright sunlight. Sounds a lot like a farm in the summer right? It also happens more often when there is physical irritation to the eye by weeds like thistles so I guess killing the pretty purple thistles that are “nuisance weeds” makes a lot more sense.
Pink eye is not only painful for the animal but can cause decreased body weight and milk production. If not treated, the cow can lose sight in one or both eyes temporarily or permanently.
Staphylococcus aureus Mastitis is an infection in the utter that produces toxins and causes damage to the milk producing cells. It begins in the teat and moves up inside the udder. It seems like the vaccine for this is very new but I am not sure.
The last big one was for a reproductive vaccine for Bovine Viral Diarrhea or BVD. As I understand it, it develops in calves in the uterus and can cause abortions, infertility and a secondary respiratory disease. This one was pretty complicated and rather than write something I am not sure about, I’ll just say we treated the calves for this as well.
The delivery man came and dropped of a truck-full of corn gluten. This is the leftovers after corn is processes and it is mixed in to the cow’s feed. It is delivered wet and helps keep the cows from sorting their food for the things that they think taste the best and makes sure that they eat the things that provide different kinds of nutrients as well.
In the evening, we fed calves. Cade fed a newborn her mother’s colostrum. Colostrum is the milk produced by a cow when it gives birth to a calf. It has lots of benefits for newborn calves such as antibodies that prevent disease. It also provides more protein than regular milk.
Well, that pretty much sums up the day. Before the sun went down we checked crops again and the sunset was really pretty over the corn field.