Preventing Stocker Health Wrecks

Health can have a major impact on performance of stocker cattle and your bottom line. By utilizing these tips you can work to prevent dreaded health wrecks.

  1. Work with your veterinarian ahead of time to develop a herd health protocol for receiving. Also, have your protocols in place for cattle that become sick. Calves treated with a short-duration antibiotic every day have twice the case fatality rate as those given a long-duration antibiotic that are treated and then left alone for the labeled duration of therapy.
  2. The longer you take to build a pen, the greater risk for health wrecks. By working with groups like Superior Livestock Auction you can purchase bigger lots, and cattle that have participated in similar value-added programs like VAC 45, VAC Precon, VitaFerm® Raised or Gain Smart.
  3. Ensuring that cattle have enough room at the bunk and eat post-arrival is critical. Cattle should have a maximum of 21 inches of linear bunk space and a minimum of 10 inches.
  4. Cattle should be consuming 1.5% of their body weight 1.5 weeks after receiving. To get cattle to the bunk fast utilize Vita Charge® Drench or Vita Charge Stress Tubs.
  5. Ensure clean water is available and plentiful. If cattle can’t identify the water source, are unfamiliar with the noise from automatic waters or feel crowded at the source it could cause problems.
  6. When reading bunks, you can tell if the volume of feed is right if a third of the cattle are at the bunk, another third are standing up and the last third are disinterred. If cattle are stacked two or three deep you are behind on feed.


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