how to tag/vaccinate a few calves? (technique)

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pdubdo
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how to tag/vaccinate a few calves? (technique)

Post by pdubdo » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:56 pm

Lord willing, I'll have 3 calves on the ground between late February and end of March/early April. I'm a newbie so when it comes to vaccinating them, how do you do it? I have a bare bones working pen with a headgate. Heifer moms are pretty calm (so far-I'm ready for them to get more aggressive as mommas) and come to feed easily. Do I 1) attempt to rope them, have someone run (calm) interference and vaccinate/tag them on the ground? 2) try and separate them in the pen-moms inside calves outside?...3) a better plan that I don't know about yet? Planning on attempting this at about 4-6 weeks old. Appreciate any wisdom/advice!



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Re: how to tag/vaccinate a few calves? (technique)

Post by jschoolcraft86 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:56 pm

I would bring them all in the pen with the feed sack that they follow easily and then sort the mothers out of the pen and then catch the babies in the headgate and give the shots.

Are you familiar giving shots at all? The vaccines I've used have been subcutaneous so it is a pretty easy shot to give, just follow the label.

4-6 weeks old seems pretty young to me though, they will definitely be easier to catch but my understanding is that they are still getting their immunity from the mother at that age. I usually give shots around 3 months old and then booster as indicated by the label.

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Re: how to tag/vaccinate a few calves? (technique)

Post by BC » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:30 pm

jschoolcraft86 wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:56 pm
I would bring them all in the pen with the feed sack that they follow easily and then sort the mothers out of the pen and then catch the babies in the headgate and give the shots.

Are you familiar giving shots at all? The vaccines I've used have been subcutaneous so it is a pretty easy shot to give, just follow the label.

4-6 weeks old seems pretty young to me though, they will definitely be easier to catch but my understanding is that they are still getting their immunity from the mother at that age. I usually give shots around 3 months old and then booster as indicated by the label.
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Re: how to tag/vaccinate a few calves? (technique)

Post by Katpau » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:59 pm

We usually tag calves the day they are born. If you can get to them before the calf is real steady on their legs, it is a pretty easy process. We also use that opportunity to put iodine on their navel. Read the cow before you do this, of course. We have eliminated our aggressive cows, so this works for us, but if you have doubts on how the cow will react, then catch them in the corrals and separate the pair. We tag each calf with a number that shows the year & birth order and also put the cow number down below and the bull number above.

I agree that 4-6 weeks is too young to vaccinate. We do the initial vaccination at about 3-4 months and follow up with a booster about three weeks later. We bring the herd up into the corrals, then either let the cows back out or sort them into a separate pen. We then run the calves through the chute to vaccinate. Since you're a newbie, see if you can get a friend or neighbor to help you the first time so you can get some confidence in the process. It is expensive, but perhaps you might even have a Vet there for your first time. It would help to develop a relationship that would be valuable when you really need a Vet in the future.

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Re: how to tag/vaccinate a few calves? (technique)

Post by TCRanch » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:12 pm

I tag and give a First Defense bolus within 12 hours of birth - usually, there are always exceptions. My girls are pretty docile so I make sure the calf has nursed & is dry, usually curled up or sleeping and I simply either stand over or sit/straddle the calf and administer the bolus first (because it kind of catches them off guard) then tag. But I'm always aware of my surroundings and keep a close eye on the mama, especially if she's a little testy. Always have a plan of escape. They're usually fine unless the calf bellows then all bets are off. Roping a newborn will make even the most docile cow go ballistic.

I don't give shots until they're appx. 3 months old. Passive immunity from mama's colostrum should protect them until then. Yes, they're harder to catch but if you can somehow rig up panels to the head gate to act as a makeshift chute it might be easier.

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Re: how to tag/vaccinate a few calves? (technique)

Post by pdubdo » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:04 pm

Thanks everyone. 3 months sounds like a better option.

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Re: how to tag/vaccinate a few calves? (technique)

Post by Ky cowboy » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:50 pm

Keep the calf between you and momma if tagging in field. They're a little more hesitant to run you over if they have to go over their baby.

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Re: how to tag/vaccinate a few calves? (technique)

Post by Lucky_P » Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:15 am

if possible, tag before they're on their feet.
mlv intranasal like Inforce3 is about the only vaccine safe & effective for a newborn, but unless respiratory disease in baby calves is an issue (never has been here), its unnecessary.
2 months is the earliest that calves are likely to respond well to Clostridial bacterins. we always tried to give initial dose as soon as youngest calf reached the 60 day mark

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