Auction calves? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I went to an auction today, and there were two calves that had a difficult time walking, both of their front hooves were bent under. They walked on the front of their lower legs. Like if you bent your hand in toward your inner wrist and the area I'm talking about would be the top of your wrist area. Can anyone tell me what this is, and is there a way to correct this? Both of these calves were Holsteins, if that matters. I would appreciate any info. I did not buy these, was just wondering. I bought 3 Brown Swiss Cross bull calves. Thanks, Dave ???

-- Dave.??? (, November 13, 2001



My WAG is these calves were injured while being pulled out of the cow. Basically they were forced out before the cow was really ready to calve. To pull a calf either straps or chains are put around the front hooves. If too much pull is exerted, the joint above the hoof can be damaged. I have no idea how curable it is.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, November 14, 2001.

That really sounds terrible. But I beleive it !! I often go to our local animal auction..never yet have purchased anything though after many years of going. But the condition of some of these poor animals are horrible. Yes, Yes,...I understand that most of these animals will end up in chicken soup or McDonald's but .... I would like to meet the owners of thse creatures and give them a piece of my mind at times. It's animals cruelty !! I can see why they won't allow any cameras in the auction. Kindness should always be shown to all of God's creatures. You could go directly to your local farmer and ask them for a young cow to raise after it is born. This way you would know all about the health of the herd and not have the stress of shipping on the newborn either. That might be a better way to go and the cost would be small I'm sure. In the spring the farmers are usually looking for someone to take their little bull calves off their hands for the freezer. Good Luck !!

-- Helena (, November 14, 2001.

We have had calves like this before in the past and we made splints out of wood and wraped them with duck tape . In about a month it is healed and they are fine usually. If I was to buy one at a auction like this I would not pay a lot for them as they are a lot of work they have to be kept from the other calves and it is not a calve I would keep they would be fine to butcher but not for breeding . Indiana Country Friend Jack Bunyard

-- Jack Bunyard (, November 14, 2001.

They aren't damaged. Some calves, and it is rare, are born with weak ankles and walk that way for awhile. Generally when I see it, it's one ankle, not two, but I suppose it can happen that way. I've NEVER had ankles damaged by pulling calves, and sometimes with large calves (I'm talking 140 pounds or better) that's the only way to get them out and still have a live cow.

I have a calf in the barn right now who "knuckled" around for the first ten days or so. You'd never know now he'd been doing it to see him now at 6 weeks. And my cows are Holsteins, too. Don't know if it's a breed thing or not, but it's been rare in this herd at least. I only see a calf every couple of years that it persists in more than a day.

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, November 14, 2001.

We raise calves on the halves for a couple of dairymen. We got one this year that was a big calf and he walked on his knees for a while. Probably less than a week. This particular dairyman milks holsteins and Brown swiss and this was a holstein baby. I asked him why he thought that happened and he thought it was because they are such big babies and that they were so (my word now) squished in the Mama cow. He had 2 that he kept last year that were too bad to send to us and they straightened up in a couple of weeks. He would not ever give us calves that are not strong and healthy. His dairy management seems to be good too. So....betcha it is because the holstein tends to have huge babies.

-- Nan (, November 14, 2001.

I'm with Jennifer and Nan. We milk Jerseys for our living and every now and again we'll have one that "knuckles under" for a short time. We think it's possibly from the birthing process. Usually we find it in first calf heifers. Jerseys have almost no calving problems, but like anything, they can vary. It just seems like this happens when it takes a little longer to calve than the usual. The calves have always returned to normal with nothing noticable as they mature.

-- Scottland Jerseys (, November 14, 2001.

Yes, if you have some extra time they can be had cheaply and they come out of it in about a week or so. I used to raise calves and goat kids for the market and would get them like that. I didn't even splint them, figured I would veal out the calves but they got up and walked normally in time, same way with the kids. If they are formed correctly they will get up and walk with proper care.

-- diane (, November 14, 2001.

The conditions described are called contracted tendons. It can involve any of several different tendons in the legs and so come in varying degrees of severity. Generally accepted as being a genetic defect in most circles. If treated early enough and if the tendons are not severely foreshortened it is treatable with splinting. Most overworked dairymen just don't have time to bother with such a calf. It is not generally the result of rough calving technique. Improper placement of calving ropes and chains most often fracture the legs or pull off the hoof.

-- Sandra Nelson (, November 14, 2001.

Horses occasionally drop a foal with contracted tendons. If dealt with early with splints or the tendons are not too shortened, they clear up just fine. I had a colt once that was really big at birth and he had contracted tendons which required surgery and special little shoes that we had made in Kentucky. That fellow took three months to walk right, but now is a great show horse. That colt was the only oen I have ever had that took surgery to correct though. Most get better on their own.

-- Cindy (, November 14, 2001.

Thanks again everybody.I just may purchase one next time since one of them sold for $9.00.Dave.???

-- Dave.??? (, November 14, 2001.

Dave unless you are wanting to polish up on your vet skills buy only animals that are walking and looking normal, if you are birthing calves at your farm dairy or beef sometimes you have no choice as to what is delivered but don't knowinly go out and buy defective animals just because they are cheap sometimes they don't straighten up and your valuable time is wasted.always buy as good as animal as you can afford because they are the ones that produce the best.

-- Diane in Idaho (, November 14, 2001.

dave, we had a calf like that,backwards,pulled by vet, took foam blue insulation, cut to look like a box, taped it with duck tape on outside to hold legs stiff. recovered just fine. lexi

-- Lexi Green (, November 15, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ