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Faster horses

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2005
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NE WY at the foot of the Big Horn mountains
We just heard today from a very knowledgeable ranch woman that putting sawdust in your pens at calving time eliminates the need for iodining navels. Have any of you heard that before? Something about the creosote...

We always iodine what goes through the shed. Navel ill is one of the most fustrating diseases calves can get IMO. We use straw, have never used sawdust which would darn sure keep the cow busy cleaning up the calf, for good or bad. They'd get pretty covered with the sawdust.

I have a lot of respect for the lady that told us about this. Just wondered if anyone else had heard of it.
When we winter calved I used to religiously iodine navels till I noticed cows licking them raw trying to get the iodine off-quit doing it and saw a reduction in the incidance of navel ill. If you are bedding heavy that's probably all you need to do-or calve on the grass :D
We use home-grown bull rushes off our subirrigated meadows for bedding in the barns. We never use iodine on the calves' navels, and think the "joint swelling disease" associated with swelled navels comes about more due to a calf not getting colostrum soon enough.
Faster horses, keep doing whatever works best for you. I also wholeheartedly believe in using iodine and lots of clean straw. Don't change your practices if it's working. We haven't had naval infection here since my husband and I took over looking after the cattle. We go through lots of iodine and LOTS of straw.
Thankfully, we are past the years of getting a lot of navel ill. I am sure it has everything to do with a good immune system. (Of which colostrum plays an important part.) Since we don't have much problem with navel ill, to speak of, we also do not have alot of other things. It is just that I hate navel ill so bad because of our experience with it in the past. I am a stickler for the guys iodining what goes in the barn as insurance. It is so fustrating and requires a strict treatment regimine for 10 days to cure calves that have navel ill. It is a good thing to avoid.
Sawdust has creosote in it???? That's the black tar substance that's used to treat telephone poles....I"m confused...but since I live down south...we've never had trouble with any of that since we dont calve in a barn...
Ok before posting this I looked it up...dont sound like it'd be somethin I'd wanna put in with my calves

You brought up a good point. Thanks.

I must say I didn't hear this one-on-one directly from this ranch woman. It was relayed to me via another person. I just thought it was an interesting point of view. There are a lot of old wives tales out there, for sure.

I wonder if sawdust does contain creosote. Creosote is what posts are soaked in to keep them from rotting after being put in the ground. Why would they be made into sawdust? Now that I think about it, it doesn't make sense.

I am going to read the link you provided. Thanks again.
I don't think sawdust has creosote in it-we used to bed feedlot cattle with kiln dried shavings from the local sawmill (spruce wood)-they worked very well the moisture kind of seeped through them and the top stayed dry-also cattle didn't eat them like they will straw.

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