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Is there a natural calcium supplement? Or not necessary?

 
Rebecca Norman
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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Hi Adam,
Our Jerseys have suffered from hypocalcemia (sp?) a couple of times, and it's scary. They could have died. The government vet comes and gives her a calcium shot and advises us to give them calcium supplements, but then the govt veterinary department doesn't have enough for us to use continuously, and there don't seem to be any private sources around here.

Our school has two Jerseys, soon three. They eat dry alfalfa hay all winter, also graze a bit in summer (shortage of pasturage here), kitchen scraps (from 50 - 100 people) all year round, and a bit of wheat bran from a local flour mill as a supplement.

I tried reading online about calcium and cows, and my head spun. On the one hand it sounds like maybe you don't want to supplement calcium all the time, only post-birth or something? I was totally confused about that. And on the other hand, nobody, but nobody, suggested any natural materials, only commercial products. We could probably get lime here -- would it be okay to mix a little into their kitchen scraps or is that caustic? We do try to crush our eggshells and mix it in, but we don't have eggs all winter, and even in summer, is that a good thing to do, or not?

Also, the vets told us not to feed any leavened bread or dough in the kitchen scraps because that will add to acidosis or something. Do you think that's right, even for bread that has been baked or cooked?

Thanks if you have any insights!
Becky
 
Adam Klaus
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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Hi Becky,
I wouldn't know anything about acute calcium supplementation. I generally recommend alfalfa hay, but you are already doing that. Wish I could help, but I don't know. Have you consulted Juliet de Bairacli-Levy's Herbal Handbook? She might have some ideas about specific medicinal plants that would be helpful.

I would 100% agree to never feed cows any bread products. Bread is grain, and grain causes acidosis in cows. No grain ever! Kitchen scraps would be much better suited to feeding chickens, or better yet, pigs. Cows are pasture feeders, 100%.

good luck to you in the lovely land of Ladakh!
 
Elisheba Meyer
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Hi Rebecca,

I didn't see your post until I had started my own on the same thing calling it Milk Fever. Here is a link to it. http://www.permies.com/t/43236/cattle/Milk-Fever-Cattle-Specifically-Milk#339710

However if you want to just skip my thread and go to what I found about natural remedies, and making your own drench, here is a link to the article I found.

http://www.organicpastoral.co.nz/site/organic/files/Microsoft%20Word%20-%20Milk%20Fever%20oct10.pdf

I thought it was really interesting and hope it helps us both.
 
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