Win the Fight Against Parasites!
We have to be aware of all the ways in which parasites gain access to our calves. I was on a farm on Thursday this past week. I was impressed by the way the feeding equipment was kept clean. This was true for the waterers, as well.
Then I noticed in two group pens of preweaned calves that hay was being fed on the floor of the pen. Ooops! Best management practice for feeding roughages (in this case hay) is to feed them in either an open trough or a hay rack with a solid bottom.
These feeding practices reduce the time when calves are picking up hay off the floor where it may be contaminated with parasite oocysts or "eggs."
The fact that these two pens were "temporary" pens does partly explain the absence of proper forage feeding equipment. However, I would rather see small amounts of hay stuffed into the top of the grain feeding pails rather than on the pen floor.
This is just a little thing but parasites like coccidia and cryptosporidia are such a waste of energy and protein for our calves. Any little inexpensive thing we can do to reduce exposure makes sense to me.
Great Sam!!! What are your recommendations for use of (De)wormers for calves? Age and specific medicine to start?
The age at which to begin to use dewormers for calves should be related to their risk of exposure. If your calves have a low exposure level it may not be necessary to use dewormers at all.
If diagnostic support is available, before using dewormers I recommend fecal sampling to establish both the types of worms present and their concentration.
In situations where there a pasture "seasons" it is generally recommended to use wormers when turning heifers out in the spring and to worm again when they are brought off pasture in the fall.
Generally, wormers are available in both injectable and pour-on forms.
Coccidia are an entirely different parasite problem than worms. Coccidia-specific medication must be used.
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