A WET winter means an increase in baby calf intestinal infections and increased mortality during the first week of life, warns LSU AgCenter veterinarian and toxicologist Dr. Steve Nicholson.

“Frequent cold rain, wind and muddy pastures probably create more cold stress for cattle and baby calves than a blizzard,” says the LSU AgCenter veterinarian, explaining, “E. coli bacteria and corona and rota virus problems increase when calves are born into muddy, manure-laden ground.”

Nicholson says that newborn calves may have difficulty walking in mud and may be stepped on or run over. Intake of mother's protein- and antibody-rich colostrum milk may be delayed or incomplete.

If cows are thin at calving from inadequate protein and energy intake, they often do not have sufficient colostrum. “Cows need to have an adequate volume of good-quality milk for newborn calves,” Nicholson says.

The LSU AgCenter veterinarian recommends contacting a local Extension agent to learn more about cattle care or referring to the LSU AgCenter Website: www.lsuagcenter.com.