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Thread: Calves with contracted tendons, front feet.

  1. #1
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    Calves with contracted tendons, front feet.

    For the first time ever, in my small herd of Shorthorns, some of the male calves have had contracted tendons i.e the hooves on the front feet have been folded back at birth. They have all straightened normally after a few days. The sire was a mature bull I intended to use for one season only. He was an outstanding bull; excellent conformation and size, and with a good temperament. His progeny are also impressive at 5m of age, especially one of 3 males I've kept entire as a possible herd bull.

    However... if this trait is genetic, all must be castrated!

    I've browsed the www. and there seems to be no definitive reason for the problem. Some say it is genetic; some say it is seasonal ,related to the condition and feeding of the mother in late gestation, some blame it on poisons in particular weeds (we don't have the North American ones mentioned).

    This problem was much more common in the Friesians of my dairying days, but seeing it for the first time in the beef herd has me concerned. My inclination is that it is genetic, because the bull came from outside Tasmania (and thus likely to have completely different genetic background from locals) and only some of the males were affected.

    On tother hand, why were not all the males affected if it is genetic? Do only some of the cows carry a recessive gene, in which case why has it not shown up when they were mated to local bulls who might also be expected to carry the recessive gene?

    Does the BFF Brains Trust have any experience or advice?

    JV
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  2. #2
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    Re: Calves with contracted tendons, front feet.

    Quote Originally Posted by john maddock View Post
    For the first time ever, in my small herd of Shorthorns, some of the male calves have had contracted tendons i.e the hooves on the front feet have been folded back at birth. They have all straightened normally after a few days. The sire was a mature bull I intended to use for one season only. He was an outstanding bull; excellent conformation and size, and with a good temperament. His progeny are also impressive at 5m of age, especially one of 3 males I've kept entire as a possible herd bull.

    However... if this trait is genetic, all must be castrated!

    I've browsed the www. and there seems to be no definitive reason for the problem. Some say it is genetic; some say it is seasonal ,related to the condition and feeding of the mother in late gestation, some blame it on poisons in particular weeds (we don't have the North American ones mentioned).

    This problem was much more common in the Friesians of my dairying days, but seeing it for the first time in the beef herd has me concerned. My inclination is that it is genetic, because the bull came from outside Tasmania (and thus likely to have completely different genetic background from locals) and only some of the males were affected.

    On tother hand, why were not all the males affected if it is genetic? Do only some of the cows carry a recessive gene, in which case why has it not shown up when they were mated to local bulls who might also be expected to carry the recessive gene?

    Does the BFF Brains Trust have any experience or advice?

    JV
    Hmm.. it seems no one has any opinions I could consider!
    Agtronix - the home of the Weedswiper

  3. #3
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    Re: Calves with contracted tendons, front feet.

    I was told many years ago it is something to do with the growth rate of the calf before birth but cannot remember where or who by so did not comment.

  4. #4
    Senior Member 4wd's Avatar
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    Re: Calves with contracted tendons, front feet.

    We've always mainly blamed a large calf being cramped the last few weeks, you do seem to get periods with several coming out like it then the problem 'goes away' which doesn't sound like genetics - though no doubt could be involved.

  5. #5
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    Re: Calves with contracted tendons, front feet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barney View Post
    I was told many years ago it is something to do with the growth rate of the calf before birth but cannot remember where or who by so did not comment.
    I googled "calves with contracted tendons" and received a number of responses, including this one from 2011
    https://www.drovers.com/article/tend...uick-attention

    I cannot vouch for any of the sources

  6. #6
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    Re: Calves with contracted tendons, front feet.

    Thank you 4wd & Ironhead for your comments. They match with what I'd discovered. I'm still inclined to have all 3 bull calves cut, (such a waste!) and will have to make the decision in a week or 3.

    JV
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  7. #7
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    Re: Calves with contracted tendons, front feet.

    The problem has been solved: the vet came a few days ago and relieved all three bull calves of 28 pounds of specialised body parts .

    We discussed the need to sell all the heifer calves in due course, in case they were carriers, but he reasoned that since only some bull calves were afflicted, the gene responsible is gender linked, i.e on the Y chromosome, and since the heifers do not have a Y, they are probably safe to keep & breed from.

    I'm happy to follow his advice;just hope he is correct.


    JV
    Last edited by john maddock; 09-02-20 at 11:29 AM. Reason: clarity
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