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TOPIC: Nurse/house cow with half swollen udder

Nurse/house cow with half swollen udder 11 Oct 2011 12:32 #29055

Our house/nurse cow Wendy (1st calver), had her calf on saturday, a beautiful heifer. During the first night her calf fed from the right side only. The next morning, we went to the farm up the road and got her a hereford cross heifer to rear as well, who instantly had a big feed from the left side. Anyway, the left side of her udder is still really swollen, both front and back quarters. The calves seem to be feeding off it well but IMO they prefer the right side. I stripped her front left quarter on sunday and found some lumps but they looked more like colostrum lumps, not mastitis. Also her swollen quarters are not hot or red, nor do they seem sore. I am encouraging the calves to feed off the bigger side and completely empty it at least once a day.
My question is, should I worry? Look into natural mastitis treatment? (don't want to resort to antibiotics unless I HAVE to) or leave it for a few days to see if it's just normal heifer swelling that's hanging around on one side only?
Thanks :D
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Nurse/house cow with half swollen udder 11 Oct 2011 13:09 #395783

  • igor
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Are you running the calves with the cow the whole time? What breed is the cow? Perhaps you should milk out the cow once a day to even her up after the calves have fed. That is what I would do. Good luck with them.
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Nurse/house cow with half swollen udder 11 Oct 2011 13:11 #395784

  • Ruth
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It's quite likely to be ordinary post-calving udder process. If the calves are preferring the other side, it will look fuller - I presume they're with her and able to feed whenever they want? Are you milking her as well?

We've just started milking a 2-yr heifer, and her udder is really hard, and she's holding her milk up quite a bit, so it'll take a while to settle down and soften, I should think.

I always figure that if it only seems odd because I can feel a difference, but there's no other outward sign of trouble, then I'd not know if it were a cow I couldn't touch, so it's probably fine. If she starts showing any sign of pain in that side, then get concerned.
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Nurse/house cow with half swollen udder 11 Oct 2011 13:21 #395789

I milked her yesterday. I took 2 litres, then the calves woke up and drank till she had no more. She is a jersey fresian cross, taller than our pure fresian. Quite a big girl really. The calves are with her the whole time.
The milk I took from her was from the not swollen side as I want to drink it and figured if I took the 'good' milk, the calves would have no choice but to drink what was left.
She is grazing long mature grass (not yet past it and rank) and I'm giving her about as much as she can eat. She's also in with the yearling heifer. She does lift her leg when the calves first go to that side so maybe it is a little sore, or maybe it's her getting used to the 'tingle' of milk let down.
You're quite right, I wouldn't notice much of a difference if I wasn't squatted down under her feeling and having a close up look. She's a very good girl, happy to stand there and be milked/feed both babies.
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Nurse/house cow with half swollen udder 12 Oct 2011 15:42 #396026

Update... The swollen side is not so swollen today, but still looks much bigger than the other side. Even after she's milked out it's a very lopsided udder. The swollen quarters (both front and back) are hard but not hot at all. Her udder is predominantly pink, they're the same shade of pink as the not swollen side. There's also no sign of any lumps when she's stripped out. I'm hoping the swelling goes down soon. I wouldn't worry if both sides were swollen, or both had lost their swelling already, it's just that it's only on one side thats causing the worry. I was a dairy farmer for years and have never seen swelling hang around on one side only.
She's actually being totally milked out by the calves at the moment, the weather is pretty rough so I guess they're feeding more to keep warm.
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Nurse/house cow with half swollen udder 12 Oct 2011 19:07 #396070

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Horsey chick;390752 wrote: Update... The swollen side is not so swollen today, but still looks much bigger than the other side. Even after she's milked out it's a very lopsided udder. The swollen quarters (both front and back) are hard but not hot at all. Her udder is predominantly pink, they're the same shade of pink as the not swollen side. There's also no sign of any lumps when she's stripped out. I'm hoping the swelling goes down soon. I wouldn't worry if both sides were swollen, or both had lost their swelling already, it's just that it's only on one side thats causing the worry. I was a dairy farmer for years and have never seen swelling hang around on one side only.
She's actually being totally milked out by the calves at the moment, the weather is pretty rough so I guess they're feeding more to keep warm.
Hi Horsey Chick ...I milk cows and when they first come in they can have various swelling on one or both sides of udder and some quarters milk right out and still look swollen ...if your girl is being stripped right out, udder not hot, and does not have lumpy milk and is not lame ...i think she is still just getting sorted after giving birth and her udder should sort itself out in no time[^]
Cheers
Leonie & Zoo!!! :silly: :woohoo:
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Nurse/house cow with half swollen udder 12 Oct 2011 21:16 #396108

Yeah terralee, thats what I figured, just weird that half of her udder has no swelling whatsoever now, and one side is still really swollen. I stood in the paddock today till the calves had completely finished feeding, then checked her, there was no milk left in any quarter. Wendy looks to be the picture of health and has taken to motherhood so well. She is a calf we reared, so, it's cool to have her baby now on the ground.
I have put some ACV in her water as a health tonic too, in my google research, it says that ACV can help ward off mastitis so it's worth a shot, although she has no signs of mastitis anyway.
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Nurse/house cow with half swollen udder 12 Oct 2011 23:07 #396121

  • Ronney
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Your cow will have come in with Caked Udder which is why you are seeing the lop sidedness and hardness. It's far enough down the track now for it to resolve itself - usually takes a week or so from calving.

I don't normally advise putting two calves on a heifer as they are not usually the best producers in their first season. They may come in looking like they can feed an army but once things settle down they are usually hard pushed to feed more than their own calf. If you are feeding two calves on this cow plus taking milk for yourself, keep a very strict eye on what the calves are getting and be prepared to do something about it if a feeding problem should arise.

Cheers,
Ronnie
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Nurse/house cow with half swollen udder 14 Oct 2011 18:39 #396364

Cheers Ronnie. The cow is doing well and the calves are getting their fill and growing like weeds already. I am only milking her once or twice a week and only take 2 litres a time. I'm in the paddock with the cows twice a day and I keep a close eye on all my animals to ensure they're in good health. :)
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