Cattle Forum

Help! My Cows Are
Losing Their Tails

by Paul from SD » Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:28 pm
‘I discover my oldest calf had lost her switch to her tail a few days ago. She was born April 21st. The tail was gone up to about 1 & 1/2″ from the bone tip. Figured she had it under a cow’s foot and got up and darted. Nice solid red impressive heifer. Now today I see that my black angus heifer (14 days younger) has lost her tail switch as well. Same thing, a boney tip and no switch. What could be going on? There is no chance of dogs chasing. Never hear any coyotes, cows would take care of them. They are getting free choice creep feed. Have fresh water available at all times. Pasture is short but they always have a nice round bale in the feeder. There are a lot of flies and mosquitoes. They dont seem to have lice. Please give me some help. Vet isn’t answering.’
by dung » Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:10 pm
‘Do you have fescue? Pretty much the wrong time of year for fescue problems.’
by milkbred » Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:11 pm
‘I don’t know, the only things I can think of are 1. could they be getting caught on something? 2. Freezing (I think we can rule this out). 3.I’ve seen holstein calves form a crap ball on their tail and if you don’t get it off eventually the tail will fall off just like you had put a band on it, we

watch those closely and it is only a problem when they are young.’
by hillhitcher » Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:04 am
‘Watch to see if dogs are chasing your cattle and pulling the tails off. Have had this to happen.’
by Paul from SD Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 am
‘No crap balls, the calves have all been very clean. I couldn’t find anything the could be getting caught on. I called the vet this AM and they didn’t help much. And, nope, no dogs or coyotes in the pasture ever.’
by crack86 » Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:11 am
‘Are they maybe chewing each others tails???’
by hillhitcher » Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:47 pm
‘You’re 100% there are no other marks/scratches on them? Sure sounds like coyotes. I would pack a gun, start doing some walking and shoot anything that moves.’
by gagwag » Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:03 am
‘Would you happen to have any multi floral rose bushes in your pasture? I have them in my pasture where you can’t get at them with a tractor to mow them. Once in a great while I will have a calf that will have its switch gone or on a bull calf, its sac tore open from going through the rose bushes and having the thorns get caught and the calf pulling to get away from these ‘pain in the butt.’
by dung » Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:43 am
‘I too would think it’s more of a case of the switch getting snagged/caught and pulled of. Barbed wire, field fence, some types of trees/bushes, clumsy animal standing on its tail, etc. Does seem kind of strange that it would happen to more than one. One every few year maybe, but 2 in one year just seems kind of strangely coincidental.’
by hoofhoofy » Sun Jul 27, 2008 6:45 pm
‘Never seen it happen but have read and heard that tall fescue grass infected with the endophite fungus will cause tail and hooves to slough off.’
by Paul from SD » Sun Jul 27, 2008 6:51 pm
‘Thank you hoofhoofy, that’s the one!
by crack86 » Sun Jul 27, 2008 6:57 pm
‘Holy crap!!! For real???’
by robred » Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:13 pm
‘Yep, had one first calf heifer lose her tail on fescue pasture last year. She still doesn’t seem right. She is down on her condition and moves slower than the rest. Raising a good calf, however.’

by hoofhoofy » Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:59 pm
‘Btw, my new bull calf does something I haven’t seen before, he loops his tail over his back and holds it there on a regular basis, kinda like a Spitz breed dog with it’s tail curled over it’s back. Have you ever seen this, or know why they do it?
by grassycow » Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:53 am
‘Some of our cows do that. It is like they flick at a fly and just leave the tail laying across their back. Then they think about it and move the tail. It’s no big deal. I enjoy watching the calves run with their tails stuck up in the air. Maybe that is where the phrase “high-tailing it” comes from.’
by gagwag » Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:03 pm
‘That’s exactly where the term came from. Cattle running from heel flies with their tail in the air.’
by dung » Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:32 pm
‘A lot of calves do it when they’re trying to take a dump or if they’re racing across the pasture.’
by hoofhoofy » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:14 am
‘I’ve seen them stick it out the back or straight up when they do that, but never loop it all the way over. Almost make a complete circle over his back. He hangs it down normally too.’
by dung » Thu Jul 31, 2008 08:19 am
‘I prefer anything to the lazy poopers that don’t even try to move it out of the way.’
by grassycow » Fri Jul 31, 2008 3:46 am
‘I’m going to be giggling about this thread, and these pictures, for a long time. Just another little reason why we all do what we do. Gotta love those calves!’
Read Also:
* Cowturday


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