Beef Buzz News
Weaning Calves Correctly Is Good For Animals And The Pocketbook, Says Texas Extension AgriLife Specialist Dr. Ron Gill
Tue, 29 Sep 2020 08:36:45 CDT
Weaning calves correctly is good for both the animal and the pocketbook says Dr. Ron Gill, Extension livestock specialist for Texas AgriLife.
Ron Hays Beef Buzzes With Dr. Ron Gill
Gill was a featured speaker at the recent 2020 Virtual Cattle Raisers Convention which replaced the Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Convention cancelled in March.
The issues associated with weaning and its cost to the industry is one of the largest economic drains on our industry, Gill said.
Gill said it costs $1 billion a year in lost production due to calves getting sick, poor performance and the cost of antibiotics.
The use of antibiotics in livestock is closely scrutinized and Gill said most antibiotics are used to treat respiratory diseases.
We need to try to manage calves to reduce the chance of them getting sick, Gill said.
Another factor to consider is the welfare of that calf.
To me the bigger issue is this animal welfare issue, Gill said.
The Texas animal scientist said we can prevent many of the diseases, yet the animals still get sick, and this leads to an animal welfare issue.
That is something we can and should improve upon, Gill said.
We have better antibiotics, we have better genetics, better management and nutrition and yet we still have more sickness than we did years ago, Gill said.
A lot of the issues can be prevented by simply reducing the stress on the animal.
Getting them through the weaning stage is a relatively short period as the calves are usually six to eight months of age, Gill said.
On a lot of ranches, we take one day to wean the calves, but the actual weaning is not stressful, rather it is the phase we put them through, Gill said.
What happens is when we start stacking things on top of one another, Gill said.
A lot of these calves may not be vaccinated or castrated and then mingled with other cattle, creating additional stress.
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