January 26, 2012

More Vaccinating

It seems like every time we turn around it is time to vaccinate more cattle at our place.  I have talked about the importance in developing a good immune system in the calves through giving 3 rounds of vaccine before they leave our farm.  We also vaccinate the cow to help prevent certain disease in both the cows and their un-born calves.  Our cows are now half way through the 3rd trimester of their pregnancy and for the heifers they are about 30 days away from being 1st time moms.  Over the past couple of weekends we gave our cows and bred heifers their pre-calving  vaccines.  We moved the cows to the last corn field before they come home to calve.  The great part about the last field is that it is only 2 miles away and they can walk those 2 miles!!  The bred heifers are definately showing signs that they are getting a little uncomfortable with being "very" pregnant.  We have started supplementing them with some distillers grain, and for a group of heifers that use to beat us to the bunk it sure does take them a long time waddle their way to the bunk now.  It won't be long and there will be new calves playing in the evenings as the sun sets at our place again.  
Saturday we bangs vaccinated about 80 head of heifers.  Brucellosis is a disease that use to be very prevelent in the US.  It causes cows to abort or go into preterm labor.  Due to an industry wide attempt Brucellosis has been nearly wiped out of most of the US.  In 2007 the US had almost eradicated the disease from the US cow herd with only 0.0001% of the cows being infected with Brucellosis.  The problem with 100% eradication is that wildlife such as bison and elk can transmit the disease to cattle.  According to the USDA the elk and bison living in the Greater Yellowstone Area are the last know focus of brucellosis eradiction, however the management of wildlife causes great challenges of complete elimination and increases the chance of brucellosis occuring in the US cow herd.  Breeding cattle shipped between states have to be bangs vaccinated prior to shipment.  Heifers must be vaccinated prior to their 1st birthday. 
The heifer in the right corner has her clip
tag that has shows she has been bangs
vaccinated, she has a tattoo in the same
ear with the same number as the clip tag

Aout of the 80 heifers we bangs vaccinated part of them are the keeping heifers for ourselves, part we are selling, and the remainder belong to the neighbor that we have been taking care of since November.  One of these days soon those heifers will be sold and our pens will be emptied out just in time for calving.  Even though we don't calve in the pens we do use some of them to water the cows, they have automatic water tanks with heaters so no ice to chop (unless a heater breaks).

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