Managing Herd Health during busy season

Managing Herd Health during your busy season

It can be as easy to do it right as wrong so manage animal health by doing the basics right.

At this time of the year, most livestock farmers haven’t time enough for their normal workload – without also having to care for sick animals. However, when sick animals appear they must be cared for and, with labour limited, many will look to prevention rather than treatment.

Higher vaccine use is good, but it must be matched with the basics of good farm management. Scour in calves is the biggest calf killer and usually reaches a peak in early March, as sheds fill up and newborn calves are housed in pens where older calves have just moved away from.

Kieran Mailey and the Journal Vet go through some of the calf-care basics that are essential to manage scour. While vaccination is effective when managed properly, it is not a cure-all and often the management around newborn calves is just as important.

With the start of breeding around the corner in suckler and dairy herds, go back through the calving notebook and think now about cows that had the hard calvings, the retained placenta, the twins, etc.

They might need a bit more attention and, if lacking in condition score, now is the time to mind them before the start of breeding and maybe a little extra feed or once-a-day milking might improve the situation.

On many sheep farms, given the exceptional rainfall, it is proving difficult to turn out ewes and lambs.

The increased risk of mastitis is a challenge and Darren Carty discusses what to look out for with the Journal Vet.

Rather than fire fighting individual herd health problems, farmers need to develop annual herd health plans that can allow for more structured and cheaper herd health control.

Farmers involved in the Knowledge Transfer Programme rightly need to complete an annual herd health plan.

Source: Irish Farmers Journal

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