By Rayford Pullen
This has been an expensive winter to own cattle from a supplemental feed perspective. As of February 1, we had already purchased our total used during the winter of 2016-2017, and if that groundhog is right, we have another six weeks of winter, which will translate into more feed required.
The drought this past fall and now well into winter has resulted in little, if any, winter grazing. So here’s to hoping spring will be arriving soon.
It seems I have a few friends each year who lose calves to a clostridial disease we call blackleg, due mostly to the fact they did not vaccinate. My observation has been that the calves you find with blackleg are dead, had been doing really good, weigh in the 400-pound range and may be close to a water source. In all my years I have only seen one calf that I knew had blackleg that was alive.
This problem can usually be avoided with just a basic vaccination program, which includes a blackleg vaccination when calves are two to three months old. If we have late born calves that are at least walking, we will vaccinate them regardless of their age, and recently published articles have indicated that unlike conventional thinking, calves under two months old will also get immunity.
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