Calf Scour Prevention
Scouring calves can be a major problem during calving season, resulting in substantial loss to your operation through treatment cost and even death loss. Here are some tips to help minimize this problem before it gets started.
- Maintain a clean environment for calves. There are 6 main causes of diarrhea in calves: E. Coli, Salmonella, Rota-virus, Corona-virus, Coccidiosis, and Cryptosporidium. All of these are commonly found in the calves' environment. It is important to have a clean dry area (either pasture or barn) for your newly freshened pairs.
- Maintain a good nutritional plane for cows in the months leading into calving. Crude protein in the diet is very important for the formation of the developing fetus's immune system, and it is also vital to quality colostrum formation. If you are concerned about whether or not a calf has consumed quality colostrum, there are several colostrum supplements available. A couple examples of these would be Colostrx 130' and Lifeline. It is essential for the calves to receive an adequate dose of colostrum before 24 hours of age (preferably in the first 12 hours after birth).
- Vaccinate your pregnant cows for scour prevention. If your farm has a history of scour problems, it may be beneficial to utilize a vaccination program in your bred cows prior to calving. This technique is called "maternal programming" and gears the cows to produce colostral antibodies that are specific to the pathogens which commonly cause scours. A product which we recommend for this would be Scourguard 4KC. With this product, you administer two doses 3 weeks apart with the second dose begin given 3 to 6 weeks before calving.
- Vaccinate your newborn calves for scour prevention. This is another option if your farm has a history of scour problems. Newborn calves can be vaccinated within the first 24 hours after birth. A product we recommend for this would be Calf Guard by Pfizer. With this product you orally administer the vaccine to the newborn calves as soon as possible after birth.