We’ve had an interesting twenty four hours. SWMBO and I were both up during the night to try feeding/hydrating the calf with little success. After a disturbed night, I woke at 0500hrs to the sound of lashing rain and strong winds and a sick and cold calf sitting in the wettest place possible, just inches from the stall full of dry hay I’d prepared for her last night.
Realising that things were worsening, I spent the next hour shifting equipment out of and hay into the old feed shed in the back paddock before manhandling her up the hill and into a much drier and warmer spot. In hindsight, I should have moved her there at the first sign of problems but, being pretty new to all this, I just didn’t join the dots early enough.
Having missed the school bus (along with half the kids on the same route due to the driver leaving too early), Maisie has spent the day helping Wendy managing things. She took the calf to the vet with my mate Johnny and it turned out that we had a fairly good handle on things; the calf most likely has coccidiosis and this has been compounded by the scours we saw yesterday.
Like humans with diarrhoea, the more the calf gets dehydrated, the weaker it gets and the less likely it is to recover. So, to cover all the bases, we got antibiotics to fight the infection and electrolytes to help rehydrate her. The injection was no problem but the calf was hardly suckling so the only way to get her fluids up was by using a feeding tube. Hearing that this would be another $50 bucks, Wendy and Maisie saved the day (and $40) by using our $10 aquarium gravel cleaner as a feeding tube and funnel.
So this evening, while the rain lashed around the shed, we set to and fed the calf for the second time using this hi-tech solution before tucking her in for what will be a much warmer and drier – and hopefully healthier – night.