Copper levels can be very low in the winter due to high mud and soil type. Therefore Ill thrift at this time can be related to low Copper levels. Low Copper is also associated with subfertility; where cows cycle and mate but do not get in calf. If in doubt, get some animals sampled. This is the safest path to take since too much Copper is poisonous and there is no way to remove excess Copper effectively from the animal once administered.
A common question we are asked is can I drench or give vaccinations at the same time as injecting Copper? In this case great care is required. Extreme bad reactions and even deaths have been associated with giving other products (especially injections) at the same time as Copper injections. Ideally give all the other treatments on one day then turn the cows out close to the yards for 24-48 hours; then give the Copper injection separately and as the final intervention. Always use minimum stress when giving Copper injections, avoid running cattle along way to and from yards and handle as quietly as possible. If using a Copper bolus these precautions are not necessary and the boluses can be administered safely with other products.
Copper supplementation in breeding animals given now will still benefit the unborn calf and boost fertility for this season. Beef cows respond particularly well to the All-Trace Boluses which contain Copper, Selenium and Cobalt (B12). Given pre-calving they will address any deficiencies in the cow, pass into the calf via the placenta and colostrum and should still be supplying enough minerals for the mating period.
If the grazing heifers require mineral supplementation such as Copper injections, do not give too close to Planned Start of Mating (PSM) as it may cause a temporary disruption in cycling. Ideally give at least three weeks ahead so that the heifers have time to resume cycling before PSM. Copper Capsules/ All Trace Boluses do not cause the same interruption to cycling seen with Copper injections, and so dosing can be more versatile.