Help! My Calf Has Scours!

Ok, so this is a pretty nasty thing to deal with when it comes to calves. But let me tell you, it’s something you will see so much, you won’t even think about it anymore! Raising calves, we deal with all types of things including scours (fancy word for diarrhea). We have tried several different things, and are still trying to find the “magic cure”, but here are a few tips to help you get through it!

1. First and Foremost- you don’t want your calf to dehydrate. And with scours & the summer heat, this can happen fast. We have had calves that have decided they didn’t want to drink anymore. In these cases, we’ve had to force feed them until they got their sucking reflex back. We’ve used an electrolyte mixture in their water, such as “Resorb”, and this helps tremendously in getting them back up to par. You can find these packets of electrolyte powder at your local feed store. 

2. Try cutting their milk in half. Now this really depends on the cow and what the owner thinks. With that being said, we have seen changes in a 12 hour period when we cut the milk in half for a scouring calf. The latest calf we did this “treatment” on had normal droppings the next morning after scouring for days. 

3. Now this next one we have not personally tried (but do plan to). Beat up one egg and put it in the milk (without the shell). Feed it to the calf. Done. The proteins in the egg are supposed to help the calf and clear up their scours! If anyone has tried this, please let me know how it works!
4. Get some medicine. Now, this probably should’ve been the first thing on this list. But, the order doesn’t really matter- does it?! There is a huge market out there with scouring calf medicines. Go to any livestock supply website and type in those words- you’ll find oodles of stuff! We have tried a few of those things though, including Sustain III Calf Bolus Pills. These are large pills you have to stick down their throat for them to swallow. They work pretty well. We have used these the longest out of everything we have tried & have seen success!
EDIT: 2 years later, and lots of calves, we have a new go-to for scours- an electrolyte thickening agent called Re-Sorb. We also recommend feeding 3 times a day, which prevents the calf from going from starving to full so fast (just like a human!) As the calf gets older and starts eating hay and grain, we wean off to two times a day. 

I hope some of this information helps and happy calf raising! It may be hard, but it’s definitely worth it!!


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