Healthy rou­tines for wean­ling pur­chasers

Irish Examiner - Farming - - GENERAL FARMING - An­thony O’Connor, Tea­gasc Ad­viser, Gal­way/Clare

Wean­ling sales have started all over the coun­try. Whether you are a seller or buyer, aim to be han­dling healthy stock. Check out wean­ling sales prior to sell­ing day, know in your mind what is the mar­ket value of your wean­ling. Ar­rive early. Most reg­u­lar buy­ers know farm­ers who pro­duce qual­ity wean­lings. Let it be known you have qual­ity, weaned stock for sale. Calves weaned weeks be­fore sale should be housed on straw the night be­fore sale and, if pos­si­ble, have ac­cess to hay.

T rans­por t wean­lings to sales in a clean, dry, spa­cious, well- bed­ded, well- ven­ti­lated trailer or truck.

Avoid sell­ing stock that are too light, cough­ing or have wet snouts. Wean­lings are best sold in­di­vid­u­ally. If sell­ing in pairs, they should be per­fectly matched by sex, breed, weight, age and colour.

Mar ts are a high- stress en­vi­ron­ment for wean­lings. Man­age­ment, or­gan­i­sa­tion and good stock­man­ship are all re­quired to re­duce the risk of res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion d eve l o p i n g i n p u r c h a s e d wean­lings.

Re­duce in­fec­tion risks

Pre­ven­tion is bet­ter than cure. With this in mind, sug­gested best prac­tice will in­volve the fol­low­ing. Wean­lings should spend the short­est pos­si­ble time at the mart.

A rapid, well- org anised sys­tem of re­moval from the mart premises re­duces stress and the op­por­tu­ni­ties to pick up res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions. Buy­ers need to get to the mart early and ob­serve stock at the in­take point. Here, many buy­ers will know the farm­ers and their rep­u­ta­tion to turn out healthy stock.

Avoid an­i­mals that are very ner­vous, stressed and scour­ing, or that have nasal or eye dis­charges.

If pos­si­ble, trans­port wean­lings home in a well-ven­ti­lated, clean, straw bed­ded truck or trailer. Try to keep pur­chase batches sep­a­rate for about two weeks, so that in­fec­tions that are picked up can be con­fined to small groups.

After pur­chase

Most pur­chased wean­lings will ar­rive on farms late in the af­ter­noon or at night. Don’t let them out to grass right away. Let­ting out wean­lings that are ex­cited and have maybe sweated ex­ces­sively in­creases the pneu­mo­nia risk. In­stead, put them into a wellbed­ded and ven­ti­lated shed, free from draughts. Pro­vide them with fresh drink­ing wa­ter, and a small amount of meal and good hay or silage. In­tro­duc­ing meal will al­low you as­sess if they have been fed meal be­fore wean­ing. This should be con­tin­ued at grass, at low rates to main­tain growth. Give an­i­mals plenty of ly­ing space, avoid hous­ing them on slats. Wean­lings nor­mally need to be housed overnight and the next day. After a day or two, they can be re­leased out­doors. When weather con­di­tions al­low, try to get wean­lings out in the morn­ing to a small, shel­tered, well- fenced field with good qual­ity grass. Small fields are best to keep them close and help herd bond­ing. Don’t turn them out if con­di­tions are wet and cold, or in muggy weather. Wait for a dry, fine day.

Check newly pur­chased wean­lings two or three times daily to de­tect signs of ill­ness. If an an­i­mal shows signs of ill­ness, check the body tem­per­a­ture with a ther­mome­ter. The nor­mal tem­per­a­ture is 38C, with a vari­a­tion of 1-2 C. Get im­me­di­ate veterinary as­sis­tance if an an­i­mal has a raised tem­per­a­ture; pneu­mo­nia can spread rapidly in wean­lings. Iso­late that an­i­mal straight away.

Dos­ing pro­gramme

For pur­chased wean­lings of un­known ori­gin, con­sult your vet for a rec­om­men­da­tion as to the most ap­pro­pri­ate dos­ing prod­uct, in or­der to min­imise any po­ten­tial pneu­mo­nia risk. When you think there is no worm prob­lem, dos­ing can be left un­til two or three weeks prior to hous­ing. Use an aver­mectin-based prod­uct. These prod­ucts pro­vide resid­ual cover for three to six weeks. This will en­sure the an­i­mal’s lungs are in a healthy con­di­tion prior to the high- stress hous­ing pe­riod. If buy­ing in large num­bers of wean­lings, de­vise a health pro­to­col or veterinary plan with your vet to cover vac­ci­na­tion for black­leg, pneu­mo­nia, etc.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.