It’s hard to believe spring will soon be upon us.
We often associate spring with creation and growth. Flowers blossom, robins return and calving commences.
A technical services veterinarian offers a few tips to obtain the most out of spring calves.
Midwesterners will soon be welcoming spring with open arms.
Mitch Blanding, technical services veterinarian with Zoetis, says some cattle producers will shift their attention to calving. Blanding offers a few pieces of advice to producers wanting to get calves off to the best start possible.
“Before we know it, green grass is going to be coming and we’re going to be thinking about turning those calves out. The things that we think about are taking care of parasites and enhancing the immunity in those calves. One of the things that unfortunately, not many producers take advantage of is putting an implant in those calves,” Blanding said.
Research suggests inserting an implant during the nursing phase results in an additional 19 to 20 pound gain. Blanding further explains why producers should take advantage of the opportunities associated with implants.
“If you do the return on investment, it’s a substantial return. It’s one of the easiest things, most consistent way to improve weaning weights and performance of the calf during the nursing phase,” Blanding said.
Blanding also recommends enhancing immunity throughout nursing. Mother cows provide some protection to their young, but calves are still susceptible to respiratory diseases.
“The other thing we think about is preparing the immune system for protection, and setting the calf up for success when it’s going to be weaned. Products like INFORCE™ 3, an intranasal vaccine that contains IBR, PI3 and BRSV, does a nice job of that, along with ONE SHOT®, which protects against Mannheimia haemolytica,” Blanding said.
Last, but not least, Blanding encourages treating calves for parasites.
“Young animals are susceptible to parasites,” Blanding said. “Using a dewormer like DECTOMAX® or VALBAZEN® in those calves, at spring turnout or early calf working, is a good way to help clean out some parasites and improve the performance of that calf.”