Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lessons learned

I should start back into my blogging season by following up with all the trouble caused by our friend Dan.  First, I ignored my better judgement and did NOT quarantine Dan before adding him to my herd.  He was so young and friendless after leaving his family and enduring the trauma of the sale barn...  I just wanted him to have the safety of the group.  I may have had good intentions, but it was the wrong call.  Though fit and strong when he left his home farm (2 miles from here), he contracted a "shipping pneumonia" from his companions at the auction.  Within the week he had spread the disease to both of my other precious calves!  My first indication that something was wrong was when Abby, a normally vivacious heifer was spending a little more time laying down with her ears drooping.  I spend a bizarre amount of time watching my animals, so I noticed that Abby was not quite herself one Sunday evening.  A sheepish call to a neighbor with these non-specific symptoms turned out to be just what was needed.  He took me seriously, and by the time he came over with a bottle of penicillin, she was starting to cough.  Calves can succumb quickly and Abby had the worst case between Dan, her brother and herself.  I would hate to have lost her.  All three were treated by the vet the next morning and Abby again the day after.  I never use any sub-therapeutic antibiotics in my animals, but I'm also not shy about making them well as fast as I can with (nearly) any method at my disposal.  Everyone recovered and is none the worse, but all of this could have been avoided by better management decisions.  Most health problems are due at least in part to management problems, but the trick is to know what those are before hindsight makes them clear.

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