Herbal Remedy for Calf Scours brown calf in field

How to Naturally Treat Scours in Livestock?

Herbal Remedy for Calf Scours

Poor Rusty! Last week the (not-so) little feller had the runs. We aren’t sure why he had diarrhea. All we knew is the last time we had a calf with scours, we all ended up with e-coli poisoning. That is why I learned how to naturally treat scours in livestock.

Yeah! You’re not going to be seeing me volunteering to deal with that again. The pasture was put on lockdown. No kids in. No kids out. Those of the children who were stuck in the pasture when the illness was discovered simply had to camp out in the barn for a few days amidst torrential downpours and violent thunderstorms. Food was thrown out the window to them and they had to run and grab it quickly before the chickens made it there first. Survival of the fittest.

You’d understand if you had felt those debilitating stomach pains before. It wasn’t pretty. And that was back when there were just 8 of us. Now there are 10.

Let’s do a little math. 10 people – 3 bathrooms= Not enough bathrooms for e-coli.

Ok, so while the situation was urgent, I did let the kids back in the house. But we did take some precautions.

Livestock caretakers were limited to as few as possible and there was a strict “No Shoes in the House Policy” temporarily enforced. (Because I’ve given up on the hope of ever having it a permanent policy.) Hands were washed thoroughly upon penalty of death.

My Experience

After a few days of this going on, I started to be nervous for a little more than just us. Poor Rusty wasn’t feeling well and I wanted him to get better so he could get back to the business of growing himself up into a strapping and beefy steer.

Can’t do that if all your nutrition is running right out the other side, can you now?

We started to discuss if we wanted to treat it and how. Time was obviously not proving itself an effective remedy. In the midst of the discussion, I remembered being told during The Great E-Coli Scare of 2011 that a Great-Uncle of mine had dairy cattle and he treated it with blackberry root.

How to Naturally Treat Scours in Livestock

How I Managed to Treat It?

Well, who happens to have a ton of blackberry brambles that in her new backyard?

Why that would be Yours Truly!

Utilizing the grunt-working, teen-aged muscles, and herbalist nature of my oldest son, I placed Rusty’s medical care in his hands.

He dug up a handful of roots, covered them in water, and simmered them on the stove for about 20 minutes. Once it was cool, the roots were strained and the tea, since he’s not a bottle-fed calf, we added soaked some grain in it to get it into his system.

The verdict?

24 hours later his “movements” were once again solid!

Blackberry roots are an herbal astringent so the tea worked to dry him up. The same principle to naturally treat scours in livestock can be used for all animals. Make your tea and give it to them in doses until you see it has been effective. With all diarrhea illnesses, make certain that they have plenty of access to fresh clean water.

I’m thinking it would be prudent to make sure we have some root pieces dug up and stored before the ground freezes again. For the Natural Bovine Medical Chest.

Naturally Treat Scours in Livestock with  Blackberry Root Tea

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Herbal Remedy for Calf Scours brown calf in field

Blackberry Root Tea for the Treatment of Livestock Diarrhea



  1. Place the roots in a saucepan.
  2. Cover with water.
  3. Bring to a simmer and boil for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Cool to room temperature.
  5. Remove the roots from the tea.
  6. Administer to your sick animal every few hours until symptoms disappear.
  7. The roots can be re-used to make a fresh batch of tea a few more times or frozen for later use.
  • Author: Quinn

Final Thoughts

Please, until their system is cleaned up, be vigilant about cleanliness. Trust me. You do NOT want to get sick from them!

Psst… by the way, as a disclaimer, I’m not a vet or anything like it. But I have successfully treated a calf for scours with blackberry tea.

How to Naturally Treat Scours in Livestock

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  1. E-Coli is found in the ground naturally. When calves do not get colostrum in their gut, they are not able to fight off nasty bugs as well. Calves can scour for any number of reason and having a more natural way to fight it is an awesome thing to have in our arsenal. We also have a calf with access to two lactating jerseys and she is “slightly” scouring every once in a while when she decides to be a glutton.

    1. I’m sorry George, but that blanket statement simply isn’t true. We’ve dealt with scours twice on our farm… both times in calves that had never received a bite of grain. The one was a week old and the scours (and e.coli) were because he failed to get the colostrum in his gut within the few hour window after birth. Rusty show above was a older, a few months, and had grey water scours which you’ll see in calves who are glutting on milk. In his case, he was cleaning out all 3 of our lactating cows. And had never had any grain of any kind.

    2. that about feeding corn and scours is not true , our herd is primarily hay, grass we had a calf get scours and after a month the calf succumbed to ill health , scours cleared up but calf never fully recovered . we lost him on a cold night . scours =bacterial infection , probably from eating dirty hay in feild. corn was not involved

  2. This is great to know Quinn! I imagine it would work for bottle fed cows as well. I wonder about lambs?
    I now have the perfect excuse to grow blackberries 🙂