A Calf Problem

I had a phone calll today from a fellow who was having trouble raising baby calves. His calves were suffering from scours and pneumonia, with considerable death loss.  As we discussed his operation it was apparent that he was doing several thinks wrong--things that almost doomed the project from the start.     

First, he was buying calves from several different sources - local dairymen, sales barns and calf jockeys.  So he really had no idea if any of the calves had received colostrum or what if any attention had been paid to their health and nutrition.    

Second, he only had one group of calves and any new purchases were immediately added to the group. This exposed the newcomers to whatever was going through the older calves in the group and these older calves were exposed to whatever the new ones were carrying.   

Third, he was vaccinating the calves with an attenuated live- virus vaccine. which should only be used on healthy animals.  I don’tknow what he was feeding, but if he was using a soy-based milk replacer that in itself is not conducive to calf health. 

Before he contacted me he had already run the gamut of available treatments with very little success.  It is almost impossible to overcome the poor management practices listed above and I had little to offer him except - “Clean up your act and better luck next time”.