[LMB] OT: Maternal rejection - - was: UR again

Judy R. Johnson jrj at fidalgo.net
Wed Jun 29 05:55:21 BST 2011

-----Original Message-----
From: lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk
[mailto:lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk] On Behalf Of BJ van Look
Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 1:40 PM

> NEW from JRJ> Animals reject their offspring as well, in a small but 
> reliable percentage.  That's why livestock people monitor the process, 
> and can make the difference between profit and loss by fostering and 
> bottle-feeding.

BJ, retired farmchild
And, sometimes, you can solve the problem with a large injection of

Which is something we used to do with dairy cattle. Having the dam take care
of the calf, for the first few doses of colostrum, was more economical than
having *us* take care of the calf somewhere away from the dam. 

NEW from JRJ>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxytocin  

That wasn't available back when I was working in the field, in the 1970s; at
least I never heard of it, and the livestock supply co-ops would surely have
stocked it.  There was something in a spray can called "Mother Up" that
seemed to work with cattle, some.  With sheep, you had to set up to do all
the other stuff at lambing, so I never bothered to find out if it would work
for sheep.  Besides, sheep aren't dangerous to work with, but cattle can be,
so just spraying the calf's butt was sure worth a try for peaceful
acceptance instead of roping the cow or otherwise restraining her - - well,
getting in a fight sorta rules out soft maternal behavior.  

When I was helping my husband with calving under range conditions, we
decided if you could get the cow which was tending to reject her calf into a
stall or pen without riling her up, and spray the calf's butt with Mother Up
and leave them in peace, it maybe worked one time out of ten; not really
good odds.  Trying to get a cow to adopt a different cow's calf was not
worth the bother, except with a few nice old retired milk cows we kept for
the purpose.  

Did Oxytocin work better?  How was it applied?

I usually had bags of colostrum in the freezer, both cow and sheep.  Beg,
borrow or steal it, freeze it in ice cube trays, knock into plastic bags and
label them with type and date.  

Heh.  Remember the Ace Reid cartoons?  I'm thinking of the ranchwife in her
housecoat in the hallway, not yet into the kitchen, saying, "I can tell by
the smell that the weather's gone to hell."  And hubby has newspapers paving
the floor, with shivering calves trying to stand up on it, and the oven door
open with a coupla lambs inside.  She'd not be smelling manure, but the
drying birth fluids on the newborns.

Entwife Judy
The Skiffy Minded

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