The arrival of dairy grazers or young bulls on-farm is a significantly stressful event for animals and is a danger period in the sense of biosecurity. Having a plan in place with the previous owner will prevent health issues and maximise their growth during this time.
High levels of stress, especially prolonged stress, can have long-term negative impacts on cattle, such as a weakened immune system, reduced reproduction, weight loss, digestive upsets, inflammatory reactions and reduced feed consumption.
Stress in weaning animals can be caused by transport, changes in feed, fear from triggering events such as restraint, transportation, handling, noise, unfamiliar objects and a variety of other causes. Gentle handling during transport and once arrived at the grazing property will help reduce stress, as will mixing mobs with plenty of time before moving them to the grazing.
Signs of stress include increased breathing and heart rates, increased drinking and urinating, increased defaecation, decreased appetite. Huddling together and trembling in calves is also a sign of stress.
Young animals are more vulnerable to coccidiosis during this period. This parasitic disease tends to occur when calves move from milk and meal to pasture. Symptoms may include:
- weight loss
- diarrhoea that may include mucus and blood.
A meal containing a coccidiostat is recommended while moving from milk to pasture. Continuing this when moving to the grazing property will reduce the chance of coccidiosis, increase feed intake and reduce stress.
A quarantine drench is recommended when animals arrive on farm, and keeping the new mob of animals separated from other animals for 10 days. This is so you don’t bring parasites onto your farm, and so if that mob becomes sick then it is isolated to that mob. For best results, ensure animals are vaccinated prior to arrival on farm.
There are many points to consider when planning for animals coming on to your property – If you would like help assessing your farm’s Biosecurity Risk to help prevent disease taking hold on your farm or have any questions, talk to your Anexa Vet, we are here to help.