The Story of Minnie Moo Day 3 till now… (or how to convince Dad to bring a calf home in the car!!) Tash Kristy By Kristy WoodheadNarara Valley High School Year 12 Primary Industries At the Scone & Upper Hunter Beef Bonanza.
Charolais Cow Angus Bull • Mini’s mum was a Charolais and her dad is an Angus. • Mini Moo had a hard start to life, her mother died when she was 3 days old after a difficult birth. • My teacher asked if I would raise Mini until she is old enough to be weaned at around 3 months. • I agreed and so did my parents, so we, Dad, myself and Miss Chandler drove from the Scone & Upper Hunter Beef Bonanza at White Park where we were showing the schools cattle, to the stud where she was born. • When we got out to the stud, Mini was in terrible shape, her nose was burnt and she was severely dehydrated. Everyone said her chances of survival were slim, but 45mins after her first bottle of Lectade she was up on her feet and showing us that she was a fighter. But the battle for this little one was not over yet.
Day 3.1 1. First picture of Mini Moo when we picked her up from the paddock. Where she had been lying next1 to her dead mother for at least 12 hours. (that’s Dad holding her, he’s a big softie!!) 2. Picture of Mini Moo drinking her first bottle of Lectade which is an Oral Rehydration Therapy for2 all types of animals. 3 3.What a difference some fluids make this picture was taken 45mins after her first bottle (she then did a wee in the car, that was horrible!!)
• At the end of the Scone Beef Bonanza we packed up the camp, made a special space in the horse float for Mini and set off for home ready to face a new challenge. I had worked with the steers and heifers for a long time with the school Agricultural program and now my Primary Industries studies but this was something different. This meant becoming a replacement mother for a baby. • I learnt many new things in the first week, increasing ratio’s of milk replacer to different volumes of water and slowly increasing so that Mini’s system wasn’tDay 4. over stressed, and some students think that they will never have to use that sort of maths in the real world. HA • A typical day starts at 5.30am with the first feed (We use Palastart blue calf milk replacer), Mini then loves to have a run around the paddock whilst the horses eat their breakfasts, at 6 days old she started to nibble at some grass and hay. I have her back in her stall by 6.30am so that I can get ready for school. Home from school by 3pm in time to feed Mini her second feed of the day and another run around the paddock and sometimes a nose to nose with the horses, then back to her stall for another sleep. Then back for the last feed of the day at 11pm and settle her in for the night. On the cold nights we found that a large dog rug helps her to stay warm.
Despite my best efforts, Mini Moo developed scours (diarrhoea). Thiswas to start another learning experience, what do I do, what do I giveher?What I have learnt about Scours (diarrhoea) in a calf: Scours is the most common symptom of illness in young calves and is more common in hand reared calves. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria or Internal parasites. Whatever the cause of the scour may be the outcome is that the lining of the bowel is damaged which in turn results in large amounts of body fluids leaking into the gut, as a direct result the calf quickly dehydrates and their electrolytes become unbalanced and their energy reserves are depleted the calf can develop shock and die. Mini Moo Not feeling well Day 12.
Our family is very lucky to have a family friend Keith Phillips who is alarge animal vet and although he does not practice on cattle in hispractice he was happy to give me lots of advice and arrange for me toget some drugs from another vet in the area who does carry cattledrugs:Day 12: I started with Scourban which is an oralAntidiarrhoeal Suspension and Lectade to balanceelectrolytes and rehydrate and I see a slightimprovement for 24hrs and then Mini starts to deteriorateagain. Keith recommends that I get her on somePeptosyl and put her on to half strength milk, so anothertrip to the local vet to pick up the new drug and somemore Lectade. Again I see a slight improvement for 24hrsthen another decline another call to Keith his advice ifshe is not improved by the morning take her to the LocalVet as they have the drugs on hand and as it waspredicted that it was going to be a 40`C day the heat wasgoing to be a contributing factor.
Day 17:Saturday morning came and Mini was worse. We were all starting toget very concerned that she may not make it, so off the Vet wewent. The Vet took a sample of her manure and looked at it underthe microscope to see if she had parasites which she didn’t but thismorning she had a new symptom, a slight cough, so the Vet gaveher an injection of Antibiotics and gave me more Lectade and moreinjections to give her over the next two days.Day 18:On Sunday I saw a slight improvement but still had concerns.Day 19:Monday and what a difference, we have our cheeky Mini Moo back.She has had her last injection today and is still only on half strengthmilk and Lectade but we have turned the corner.
Day 20:Tuesday and Mini is improving everyday. I can see the weight goingback on her slowly. She is still on Scourban and I am still slowlyincreasing the ratio of milk replacer to volume of water… more maths!!! Who would have thought I would need to know so much maths tolook after a calf!! .Day 21:Wednesday comes along and Mini is growing rapidlynow. She had her first bottle of full strength milktoday and no sign of scours returningDay 22:Thursday and Mini is now on full strength milk withno sign of scours. I will now start to decrease theScourban by half tomorrow and if no sign of scourstake her off it by Friday. Mini having a great run in the paddock, feeling so much better. Day 21
• So why does one little calf matter?• In reality, everything matters.• Each day, most of us all get up, have our cereal, maybe a cup of coffee and head off to school or work. How many of us actually think of where that food comes from and how much work has gone into getting it onto our plates and into our cups?• Agriculture is a subject who’s importance is not limited to farmers, understanding the process by which we come to eat that food is something that is becoming more popular in today’s society.• More people are thinking about where their food comes from, was it grown organically, was it genetically modified. What was the impact on the environment on how it was grown?.• My studies help me learn to develop sustainable farming techniques, trying to get the most out of our land and Australia’s limited water whilst at the same time, working to ensure we limit our impact on our native wildlife.• Mini Moo has been an education for me, many people have commented that it’s a cheap way to get a good steak. Well, I know better than that !! By the time Mini Moo reaches maturity, she would be too expensive to use as a simple meal and she will return to the stud to become part of their breeding program.
Hand rearing an orphan calf is probably one of the most expensive andtime intensive pursuits I have ever undertaken.The cost of milk replacer, pellets and medicines required definitelymake this learning opportunity an expensive endeavor but I feel that thethings I have learnt have been worth the expense and have enhancedthe relevance of my primary industries course.And countless hours spend feeding,cleaning the stall and preparing thenext feed gives a clear insight into whyhand rearing is not really commerciallyviable and why orphaned calves areoften abandoned by the industry.But, Mini Moo is my baby, and Iwouldn’t give her up for all the earlymornings and late nights in the world …………….and I would do it again !!
PLATINUM GOLD SILVER BRONZE MEDIA SPONSOR Gerringong & Albion Park Vet Clinic
This is aKristy Woodhead presentation for the 2009