Transitioning calves from pasture to the feedyard can be a stressful process for cattle... but it doesn't have to be. Anything producers can do to minimize that stress helps calves respond better to vaccines, stay healthy and start eating feed sooner.
Some of the main 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
Commingling with other calves
Having a transition plan in place can help minimize these stressors.
Securing enough labor to process the wave of cattle that comes in the fall is a big first step. It’s also important to train employees on low stress handling techniques to keep cortisol levels as low as possible; this returns cattle to a normal immunological status as soon as possible so they more effectively respond to vaccines.
Implementing a vaccination protocol that accounts for the risk level of the calves arriving at the feedyard is another helpful step.
Finally, 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 their diet includes high quality forage.
Download the FBN Fall Run Guide for a calf risk assessment and a breakdown of all relevant viral and bacterial vaccines that can help prevent and treat respiratory disease.
FBN Direct offers a broad range of vaccines, dewormers, implants and general animal health products for livestock producers. With convenient online purchasing options and fast, direct-to-farm delivery in three days or less, FBN Direct offers a seamless and streamlined purchasing experience for all your animal health supplies.
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