Homesteading Q&A: Cow Pinkeye, Livestock Lice, Horse Mineral Deficiency and More

Advice columnist "Poppy George" dispenses wisdom on cow pinkeye, livestock lice, a horse's mineral deficiency, salt in goats' diets and ordering baby chicks.

| January/February 1975

Cow Three

Giving vitamins A, D and E may help your cow's pinkeye.


QUESTION: My heifer's eye is very red and watery and seems sensitive to light, and my neighbor says the animal has pinkeye. What do you think?  

ANSWER: Judging from the symptoms I agree with your neighbor's diagnosis — and if you do nothing to correct the condition, blindness can result. I recommend that you give vitamins A, D and E orally or as an intramuscular injection in the neck or rump, and put a patch over the affected eye to keep out the light. This treatment usually results in steady improvement.

QUESTION: My cow, goats and burro always seem to be rubbing their bodies against poles or buildings. What could be the cause?  

ANSWER: Particularly at this time of year, the trouble could be lice. Part the hair of the animal quickly, and you can usually see the pests scamper. If any are present, dust the stock well with flowers of sulfur and rotenone — an effective natural product that is non-toxic to humans — and rub it in with an old glove, especially on the neck and body and around the rump. Be sure to repeat the treatment in seven to 10 days. This should control the lice for several months.

QUESTION: My horses chew on wood. Could this habit be due to mineral deficiency?  

ANSWER: If the horses are kept inside, the cause is usually not mineral deficiency but boredom and/or lack of exercise. All the same — as I've recommended previously — keep a block (or part of a block) of trace-mineralized salt available to your horses and cattle. Also give the stock free access to dicalcium phosphate and ground limestone, an excellent source of calcium (do not use hydrated lime for this purpose!) and they'll balance their own mineral needs. As a further measure, paint all wooden portions of stalls, fences, barns, etc., liberally with creosote. (Wear gloves and don't spatter the chemical in your eyes — it burns.) Animals don't like wood thus treated, and the preservative will add years of life to your buildings and equipment.

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!