Top Herd Health Problems, Natural Solutions

by Jerri Brunetti

The following reports are based on the gleanings of a number of animal owners who have utilized “traditional” methods on their livestock herd with various rates of success. These suggestions/reports have not been evaluated by the U.S. FDA and are not intended to act as a substitute for proper professional care, i.e. the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and prescriptions provided by licensed veterinarians. If your livestock suffers from any malady or health condition always consult with your veterinarian before utilizing any alternative methods of products.


Remove grain from diet; forages only. Herbs to be given orally per day: 2 bulbs garlic, 1 teaspoon cayenne, 1 ounce thyme, 1 ounce common sage. Half given in the morning and half in the evening. Use stimulating liniment (such as white liniment or Vicks on udder); milk out frequently (every couple of hours).

Conventional natural products: Colostrum whey (50 cc) injectable; vitamin C (50 cc) and vitamin E (20 cc) injectable.

For assistance in controlling chronic (subclinical) mastitis (high somatic cell count) minerals such as zinc, selenium, iodine and copper are very important as are vitamins A and E, among other nutrients.

Cows “Off Feed”

1 ounce powdered charcoal, ½ to 1 teaspoon each of ground fenugreek seed, ground caraway seed, peppermint leaf with ¼ to ½ teaspoon each of ground cayenne pepper, ground ginger root and ground gentian root.

Conventional natural products: probiotics, enzymes, yeast cultures, injectable B-complex.

Retention of Placenta

Preventive: Immediately following calving after providing calf with colostrum, give 3-gallon pail of colostrums milk to dam. Juliette de Bairacli Levy advises 4 to 5 handfuls of fresh ivy leaves. Be sure cattle have adequate selenium and vitamin E and proper ratios of Ca, P, Mg and K in the dry cow ration.

Other remedies: 2 quarts pennyroyal tea with ¼ pound of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts), ¼ pound magnesium oxide, ¼ pound of calcite, ¼ pound of gypsum, or ½ gallon of beer, with 1 pound of molasses and 2 ounces of nutmeg.

Upper Edema

1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1 ounce of licorice root, 1 handful of juniper berries, 1 handful of fresh parsley leaves (or root), 2 handfuls of dandelion leaves (or root), 1 ounce of celery seed. Steep in 2 quarts of boiling water. Give 1 quart of tea plus 1 quart of strong coffee, morning and evening.

Conventional natural products: use injectable vitamin B6/B12, colostrums whey. Rub udder with stimulating liniment two to three times daily.


1 shot of whiskey, 12 ounces of apple cider vinegar, 8 ounces of propylene glycol, 1 to 2 pounds of sugar or molasses. Drench morning and evening.

Calf Scours

Make a strong tea of 1 ounce each stinging nettle, comfrey leaf, raspberry leaf, wild geranium (cranesbill) to 2 quarts of boiling water. Add 2 ounces of nutmeg and 1 ounce of powdered charcoal. Add 1 teaspoon each of salt and baking soda, plus 4 ounces of sugar. Drench calf with 8 ounces every 4 to 6 hours.

Conventional natural remedies include electrolytes, probiotics and pectin/gelatin/psyllium-based products.

Hoof Problems

Make sure animals have access to “foundation free-choice” vitamins and minerals at all times. For foul hoof, wash affected area with hot soapy water and place foot in a poultice containing boiled linseed, grated comfrey root and moist bentonite clay. After 24 hours, if fetid matter is drained, wash again and apply pine tar or ichthammol. Consider the importance of grazing. Utilize compost for bedding material.

Internal Parasites

Rotational grazing  of the herd is a plus here! If pastures are not allowed to rest and “cleanse” themselves, conventional wormers may be a necessity. However, have the foundation mineral buffet before livestock at all times.

External Parasites

Essential oils of eucalyptus, thyme, melaleuca and citrus are very effective against parasitical fleas, lice, mites, etc. Add 5 to 6 drops of each to ½ pint of vinegar and a ¼ pint of turpentine and a ¼ pint of linseed oil. Apply by rubbing or spraying. This mixture is also an effective fly repellent.

This article appears in the June 2015 issue of Acres U.S.A.


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