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Herd Health

Find information about vaccination protocols, disease control, biosecurity, and working with your veterinarian on antibiotic treatment.

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Calving season means different things to different cattle producers. Some producers bring every heifer and cow to a calving shed. Others only bring in their heifers. Our ranch has enough winter ground that we are able to calve our cows outside. This has allowed calving to be relatively low-stress for us. We pasture breed our first-calf heifers to low birth weight bulls and check them periodically throughout the day during calving season. It works beautifully.

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Economically important parasites often differ according to geographic region, but, according to Gary Sides, Cattle Nutritionist, Pfizer Animal Health Veterinary Operations, there is one parasite for which cattle producers in all parts of the country should keep an eye out this spring: the brown stomach worm.

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Winter’s short days and long, cold nights often bring less outdoor activity and more time to rest, physically and mentally. Both man and beast benefit from rest and recuperation.

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Calving difficulty (dystocia) is an important economic problem in the U.S. beef cattle industry. According to the USDA, the economic impact of calving difficulty is $350 million each year, and approximately 3 percent of all beef calves born in the U.S. will be lost due to calving difficulty.

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The cow’s first milk is crucial to the health and survival of her calf. It contains fat that provides energy (and generates body warmth in cold weather), acts as a laxative to help pass first bowel movements and provides important antibodies against disease.

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How do other cattle producers ensure a successful calving season? We’ve gathered their advice.

Every cowboy knows that the cardinal rule of calving is that calves need colostrum as soon as possible within their first few hours of life. That’s when they have the ability to absorb the colostrum’s immunity-boosting antibodies directly through the gut wall and into the bloodstream – the opportunity for that direct absorption ends after the calf is about 24 hours old.

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