Smart Cattle Weaning

1_cow_calf_bigThe stress of weaning can take a toll on the development and value of your cattle. Weaning suppresses the immune system and makes calves more susceptible to ailments like bovine respiratory disease, coccidiosis and acidosis, according to an article by Clell V. Bagley, DVM, retired extension veterinarian at Utah State University.

Here are a few ways to help minimize stress and manage the weaning process to achieve the best result for your calves, and for your profit potential.

  • Don’t rush the weaning process by shipping calves before they are fully weaned.
  • Complete dehorning and castration well before weaning or 30 days after.
  • Ask your veterinarian about ways to reduce parasites.
  • Vaccinate at the proper times and make sure vaccines are handled properly.
  • Avoid dietary changes.
  • Sprinkle pens in hot, dry weather to minimize dust and make sure calves have adequate shade and, accessible water.
  • Make sure weaning pens are in good repair.
  • Keep a close eye on calves during the first few weeks of weaning to check for illness, eating behavior and other issues. Treat calves with temperatures over 103.5 degrees, or treat the entire group.
  • If possible, separate sick calves for treatment and recovery.

These methods should help your calves achieve a smooth transition to independence, which means fewer headaches for you.

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