• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

Sale Barn and Feeder Calves

Help Support CattleToday:

A

Anonymous

Guest
I would greatly appreciate any input anyone has on calves purchased from a sale barn. We just recently started raising holstein steers after we sold out out Dairy last October. We presently have 150 steers on our farm, which we raised from calves. We would probably have twice as many, but it seems our calf mortality rate is bad. We lose the majority of our calves to scours and Pneumonia. Any thoughts on how to manage this problem would be greatly appreciated.



[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
> I would greatly appreciate any
> input anyone has on calves
> purchased from a sale barn. We
> just recently started raising
> holstein steers after we sold out
> out Dairy last October. We
> presently have 150 steers on our
> farm, which we raised from calves.
> We would probably have twice as
> many, but it seems our calf
> mortality rate is bad. We lose the
> majority of our calves to scours
> and Pneumonia. Any thoughts on how
> to manage this problem would be
> greatly appreciated.

Buy your calves privately and avoid the sale barn, if possible. If you can't load them up with penicillin upon arrival.
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
> Buy your calves privately and
> avoid the sale barn, if possible.
> If you can't load them up with
> penicillin upon arrival.

We buy bull calves privately, but I'll run across 3-4 sale barn calves that I buy pretty cheap. I was hoping someone had some thoughts on treating them. I know they don't get their mama's first milk, so they really don't have to good a chance in the first place. Is there anything I can do or give them to boost their immune systems, or am I just basically beating a dead calf and give up on buying sale barn calves. I just feel so bad for them, I feel as though I maybe able to help them. My dad always did tell me that we're running a farm and not a zoo.



[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
Unless you're independently wealthy, buying calves at a sale barn is a good way to go broke. I know there are those who disagree, but once you get certain diseases on your property, like cryptosporidium for example, you're looking at trouble for a long time to come.

The sale barn harbors about every kind of bacteria, parasite or virus you can think of. Buying a calf that has been through the sale barn is simply buying a calf that has essentially been inoculated with disease. Once in a while you'll get lucky, but not often.

> We buy bull calves privately, but
> I'll run across 3-4 sale barn
> calves that I buy pretty cheap. I
> was hoping someone had some
> thoughts on treating them. I know
> they don't get their mama's first
> milk, so they really don't have to
> good a chance in the first place.
> Is there anything I can do or give
> them to boost their immune
> systems, or am I just basically
> beating a dead calf and give up on
> buying sale barn calves. I just
> feel so bad for them, I feel as
> though I maybe able to help them.
> My dad always did tell me that
> we're running a farm and not a
> zoo.
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
Excellent advice from other posters on this thread! My own advice: Buy stock from reputable breeder via private treaty, either registered or un-registered. Look at their operation from infrastructure to care and treatment and living conditions of the animals. Then, if you eventually have some culls of your own take THEM to sale barn (preferably several counties away from you) so the "locals" don't see what you are throwing away. Finally, maintain your OWN pest and disease FREE herd--don't risk bringing in something that could pass on a problem condition to your GOOD herd!

[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
> We buy bull calves privately, but
> I'll run across 3-4 sale barn
> calves that I buy pretty cheap. I
> was hoping someone had some
> thoughts on treating them. I know
> they don't get their mama's first
> milk, so they really don't have to
> good a chance in the first place.
> Is there anything I can do or give
> them to boost their immune
> systems, or am I just basically
> beating a dead calf and give up on
> buying sale barn calves. I just
> feel so bad for them, I feel as
> though I maybe able to help them.
> My dad always did tell me that
> we're running a farm and not a
> zoo. We have raised about 1500 sale barn babies in the last 10 years. Blood tests run for us at Kansas State University indicated about 1/3 didn't get adequate colostrum. Penicillin for first week a good idea, continue if you see navel infection. Treat with corid(2cc liquid concentrate) in their milk once a day for a week or two; since they have been exposed to coccidia. I believe this also helps on crypto. Add bacitracin to the other milk feeding each day to suppress claustridiums, some cause secondary scour problems. Watch for viral scours at day 7-11 and treat for dehydration as necessary. Keep individual animal records so you can see what is working when you use injectable meds.

[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
We raise about 25 to 30 calves a year that are bought thru the sale barn where my son works. First rule do not buy culls or babies, buy a calf in the 180 to 230 pound range. Hit them with all the shots before they come off trailer. Use medicated feed. Worm them with safeguard in about 2 weeks. Keep cocc. med in their water. Never add a new one with any you aready have. Keep dry good quailty hay out no matter what time of year it is. We have lost 2 in the last 10 years. Just gotta use a lot of good old common sense. Good luck.
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
I have the same problem -- it's real hard to walk away from that baby that so obviously needs the time and attention that you would give to it. Last year I bought several weak little newborn calves cheap at the sale barn, fed them this rich Jersey milk for a couple of weeks, then took them back to the salebarn and sold them at a substancial profit. I kept 1 for my own freezer. But this year I've just decided that I was extremely lucky last year in not having brought any diseases in, so hard as it is, I don't stay for the calf sale anymore. This year I bought a healthy, vaccinated, weaned, 10 week old Angus calf (twin) from my neighbor -- I didn't make enough off of the calves last to year to make up for the loss if my milk cows were to catch something from them.

Ann B

> We buy bull calves privately, but
> I'll run across 3-4 sale barn
> calves that I buy pretty cheap. I
> was hoping someone had some
> thoughts on treating them. I know
> they don't get their mama's first
> milk, so they really don't have to
> good a chance in the first place.
> Is there anything I can do or give
> them to boost their immune
> systems, or am I just basically
> beating a dead calf and give up on
> buying sale barn calves. I just
> feel so bad for them, I feel as
> though I maybe able to help them.
> My dad always did tell me that
> we're running a farm and not a
> zoo.



[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
> I would greatly appreciate any
> input anyone has on calves
> purchased from a sale barn. We
> just recently started raising
> holstein steers after we sold out
> out Dairy last October. We
> presently have 150 steers on our
> farm, which we raised from calves.
> We would probably have twice as
> many, but it seems our calf
> mortality rate is bad. We lose the
> majority of our calves to scours
> and Pneumonia. Any thoughts on how
> to manage this problem would be
> greatly appreciated.

A calf is only able to absorb the antibodies found in colostrum in the first 24 hours of life, and ideally they need to get their first drink of it within a couple hours of being born, since the absorption of the antibodies decreases rapidly during that first 24 hour period.

Unfortunately many dairies treat their bull calves like a necessary evil, not allowing them to nurse their mother prior to be seperated. These calves are often put in a drafty pen and taken to the sale barn the first chance the farmer gets to "dump" them.

If possible, buy calves directly from dairies who allow the calf to nurse their dams prior to being weaned. You may want to contact local dairy farms and tell them that you will pay them market price for their bull calves and pick them up at their farm, within a day of being called. Do this on the condition that the farmer allows the calf to nurse first. This saves the farmer the hassle of hauling calves to the sale barn. This also prevents the calf from being exposed to all the bugs that are present at the sale barn.

If you do buy sale barn calves, keep them seperate from each other, with no nose to nose contact, for a couple weeks once you get them home. Once you are certain that the calves are healthy than put them in the same pen.

Also, disinfect each calf hutch/pen/stall with a strong disinfectant before putting a new calf in the stall.
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
There are several products out there to help manage both, first assume all calves have NOT gotten propper volumes of Colostrum and give Immuteck for 24 hours, do not try and medicate, as young caves have little to no immune system and you will just be killing the good bugs.

Also you can use and esophageal feeder to help with hydration, recommend cleaning pen areas with bleach, as well as housing and water buckets and bottle and nipples. You are the primary vector from calf to calf if they are housed separately, so washing hands is critical, also you might consider disposable booties or get a disinfecting bath and barn only boots that stay at the barn and can be worn in and out of the disinfecting soln.

There are also many suppliments that will help get the calf started in terms of overall mineral balance and microbials to help the gut get going.

Jeffer's has a great sellection of many ofthese products.

[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
Sale Barns are a haven for disease, not many people like to hear this but it is true. that is way feeders, either stockers or Feedyards pay a premium for cattle that have not been exposed to them. Pen. is not the drug it used to be thanks to the many folks out there who treat it like a vaccine, and there are oodles of new strains out there that are wholely resistant. The best pollicy is to help provide the antibodies to the bugs in a pre-treatment period where they can be held seperate from healthy calves and started on feed.

[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
Here is a product a friend of mine uses regularly to treat calves she purchases from the sale barn. i could not recomend it before because I could not remember the name. Here is the web site where I found it <A HREF="http://www.livestock.novartis.com" TARGET="_blank">www.livestock.novartis.com</A> under Beef products: Poly Serum beef Cattle Vaccine, given Sub-Q, since my embryologyst has also started using it on weak calves and has really liked the results. I have seen its successful use on 50 plus calves that we took in, that were in rather poor shape when received, they perk up and are on feed fast with little or no scour trouble, and less resp. problems.

my friend Betty has 50 plus sale calves at any one time on her nurse cows, and we have found that the Poly Serum, reduced the need for drugs to treat many recurrent illnesses in these calves.

Good luck, raising sale calves takes lots of dedication, and a patient will to deal with sick babies.

[email protected]
 

Latest posts

Top