Meanwhile, back at the ranch….

Pictured is a calf warmer used when cold weather and calves arrive at the same time. (Photo courtesy of Rayford Pullen)

By Rayford Pullen,

Now that we have the bulk of our calving behind us here in North Texas, our thoughts turn to doing what is best to get the most profitable return from those calves that are running rampant across the pasture and reminding us of the youthfulness we once possessed.
When calves are between two and three months old, we can begin our vaccination program and expect to get good immunity. This is also when we will be controlling internal parasites in our calves and first-calf heifers. We haven’t always dewormed our calves when they receive their first vaccinations for blackleg, but since we did it the first time it has been a practice we have continued because I believed we could see the difference in our calves.

First and foremost in our vaccination program for calves is blackleg. Many of us get a little complacent when it comes to giving an annual vaccination for this disease. In our past experiences, this particular malady seems to strike the healthiest, best-doing calves in our herd when they are in the 400 pound range and most of the time, the first indication we have a problem is when we find a dead calf. I think in all my years of raising cattle, I have only seen one calf with blackleg that wasn’t dead. Another interesting observation, at least to me, is that we often find these cattle close to our watering holes. To read more pick up the March 2016 issue of NTFR.