Over the next few months, heifer calves will be arriving on graziers’ properties. This is a vital time for young calves, as there are multiple changes going on as well as stress from transport. Minimising these stresses will help maintain good growth rates in these animals, and make illness less likely. Hopefully, calves will have been weaned from milk for a period of time before being sent to the grazier, but this does not always happen. If this is the case, some calves will struggle going onto an all grass diet. Using meal for the first few weeks is an easy way to minimise weight checks during weaning.
When young stock arrive on farm, it is important that a plan is in place regarding drenching, minerals and weighing. Weighing young stock on arrival is a good way to have a record of animal weights when they arrived, and is the only method to work out growth rates for animals during their contract grazing period. Youngstock are more susceptible to parasites and mineral deficiencies and this can have a big impact on growth rates. If you need a plan created for young stock, feel free to give your local Anexa clinic a call, and a vet will be more than happy to help you.
Biosecurity is very important for all farms, and taking steps to avoid the potential spread of disease between different farms’ animals will prevent potential headaches in the future. When animals arrive on farm, they should be kept separate from other mobs of animals for one to two weeks and preferably not co-mingled/co-grazed at all even after this period. If any disease shows up in this mob, it will be kept contained in this mob. If possible, avoid mixing animals from different farms for grazing or yarding, as diseases such as pinkeye, BVD and salmonella are common diseases that can spread easily with minimal contact.