Minimize Stress for Calves Arriving at the Feedyard

Transitioning calves from pasture to the feedyard can be a stressful process for cattle...but it doesn't have to be. Anything we can do to minimize that stress helps calves respond better to vaccines, stay healthy, and start eating feed sooner.

Animal stress factors

Some of the factors that contribute to an animal’s stress include:

  • Learning to eat from a bunk 

  • Drinking from water tanks or automatic drinkers

  • No vaccinations pre-weaning

  • Coming off poor forage due to drought

  • Lighter placement weights

  • Gathering, sorting and trucking 

  • Shrink

  • Commingling with other calves

It’s worthwhile to have  a plan to minimize stress. While hiring help seems to be a challenge in many places, securing enough labor to process the wave of cattle that comes in the fall is best.

It’s also important to train employees on low stress handling techniques to keep cortisol levels as low as possible returning cattle to a normal immunological status as soon as possible in order to respond to vaccines.

Implement a vaccination protocol that accounts for the risk level of the calves arriving at the feedyard. 

From a nutrition perspective, help calves find the water as soon as possible. It’s a good idea to supplement microminerals to get the immune system off to a good start and ensure the diet includes high quality forage. 

Download the FBN Fall Run Guide

Download the FBN Fall Run Guide for a calf risk assessment and relevant viral and bacterial vaccines to help prevent and treat respiratory disease.

The above is provided for information purposes only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition. This information does not cover all possible variables, conditions, reactions, or risks relating to any topic, medication, or product and should not be considered complete. Certain products or medications may have risks and you should always consult your local veterinarian concerning the treatment of your animals.

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