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maryjane

6882 Posts


Posted - Jun 12 2014 :  4:36:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I recently took my bulls in for a hoof trim and breeding soundness exam and my guy Milky Way (a miniature Jersey) didn't pass (he passed last time with flying colors). It seems he's come down with something called seminal vesiculitis, an inflammation and/or infection of one or both vesicular glands and it contaminates the semen with white blood cells. The reported incidence is 1%-10%. Bulls of all ages can be affected, but it is most often seen in yearling bulls and isn't considered contagious. Milky Way was born April, 2010, so he isn't a yearling and fortunately I do have offspring from him.

WSU ran several tests hoping to identify the bacteria/virus/fungus if any but the tests came back negative. I was hoping we might try antibiotics but if the lining of the vesicle degenerates subsequent to irritation from abnormal material in the ducts, significant local inflammation can result and we're thinking that's the case with Milky Way. Because it's an inflammation in the gland, prognosis isn't good and usually becomes chronic. Surgery in adult bulls has not been successful.

In between tests, I brought him home and dosed him with all the concoctions I could think of--Vit C, baking soda, kelp, etc. With fingers crossed, I took him back for testing but there wasn't any improvement. Even in the cases where there has been remission (almost always in younger bulls), the stats of relapse aren't promising.

Our decision to cull him was difficult but I did set out with that in mind and promised myself I'd be prudent when the time came. It'll happen again and again I'm sure. When we acquire animals, we rarely think about how short their life spans are compared to ours. Because of that, we're guaranteed feelings of loss.

Milky Way will be coming back here in 2# packages. I know my family will be eating the very best organic hamburger available.






MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~

CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Jun 15 2014 :  9:40:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is one of the hard parts of farm life, I'm discovering. But it is a necessary part in order to produce a quality breed of whatever animal you have. Thank you for showing the rest of us that even you have to make those tough decisions.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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hudsonsinaf

56 Posts


Posted - Jun 23 2014 :  06:21:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Many (((hugs)))
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NellieBelle

11033 Posts


Posted - Jul 24 2014 :  3:23:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I bought a heifer calf from a dairy farm a few years ago. She was to be my future milk cow. Later we found out she was a freemartin calf. She later developed a hernia, that we had repaired. I fell in love with Maybelle but in reality, there was no future with her and so she too had to become meat for the family. She taught me along the way. I know now what a freemartin is and I also know what to look for when purchasing a heifer calf. Now I have Nellie.
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farmer Liz

36 Posts


Posted - Oct 15 2014 :  01:07:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I haven't heard of freemartin, please share details....

Sorry to hear about Milky Way, its easier to prepare when you know right from the start that you're going to be eating them.

http://eight-acres.blogspot.com.au/

Self-sufficiency and Permaculture in Rural Australia
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maryjane

6882 Posts


Posted - Oct 15 2014 :  06:06:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Explanation at the top of page 359, Milk Cow Kitchen:) I'd never heard of it either until I needed to know to put it in my book.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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NellieBelle

11033 Posts


Posted - Oct 15 2014 :  07:47:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, Maybelle was a twin calf to a male calf. So while in utero, transfer of hormones causes the female to take on male characteristics and is usually infertile. (I did have Maybelle checked just to be sure, but tests came back that she would be infertile.) The guy at the dairy told me it was the other way around, so he was either confused himself, or you come to your own conclusions. That's when he offered Sienna to me when she was born and I bought her and brought her home. Wikipedia explains "freemartins" pretty good. Better than I. It's just another thing you need to be aware of at the beginning of your quest to buying and finding that heifer calf you so desire. Once again MaryJane's book enlightens us so we may be aware of these things from the beginning.

Edited by - NellieBelle on Oct 15 2014 07:48:07 AM
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Oct 20 2014 :  3:03:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
One of our bum calves this spring was supposed to be a freemartin. We planned to raise her for butchering. Then when they went out to get "her" in from the pasture they realized that "she" was a he! Not sure how they missed it, but he's now a steer anyway. It was my first experience with the term as well, but now that I'm looking at dairy cows, I'm really glad I know about it! We have a friend who AI's and she said she went to AI a cow not too long ago and where her female parts were supposed to be there was just nothing there. When they looked back in the cow's history she was a twin to a bull calf. I think there are various scenarios of what the development can look like internally, but the idea is that the testosterone from the male calf will impact the development of the female calf's reproductive organs. It's somewhere around only a 10% chance of normal development and being fertile.

quote:
Originally posted by NellieBelle

Yes, Maybelle was a twin calf to a male calf. So while in utero, transfer of hormones causes the female to take on male characteristics and is usually infertile. (I did have Maybelle checked just to be sure, but tests came back that she would be infertile.) The guy at the dairy told me it was the other way around, so he was either confused himself, or you come to your own conclusions. That's when he offered Sienna to me when she was born and I bought her and brought her home. Wikipedia explains "freemartins" pretty good. Better than I. It's just another thing you need to be aware of at the beginning of your quest to buying and finding that heifer calf you so desire. Once again MaryJane's book enlightens us so we may be aware of these things from the beginning.

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