Care of Newly Purchased Feeder Cattle
Bonnard L. Moseley, DVM
College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia Homer B. Sewell
Department of Animal Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia ________________________________________
The way cattle are handled shortly before loading, during hauling, and the first two weeks in the feedlot has a great influence on the overall performance of feedlot cattle. There is no one program that will give best results for all feeder cattle, nor will the same results occur each year. "Cattle sense" is developed by close observation and experience. Keep records on each bunch of cattle. These records will be useful in helping you provide the most practical and economical program for the next group of incoming cattle. Develop a program that fits your operation and area. Post mortem examinations are worthwhile in ascertaining problems. The results should be considered for future health and management programs. The following are general guidelines that should be helpful to you in deciding how to handle newly purchased feeder cattle. Considerations before purchase
Disease and parasite problems are more apt to occur, and with greater severity, in calves under 400 pounds. 2.
Bunching of cattle from several groups is conducive to the introduction and spread of diseases and parasites. 3.
Preconditioned calves usually are less likely to develop disease. 4.
If possible, secure a history of vaccinations and other pertinent information on cattle that are to be purchased. 5.
Avoid purchasing sick calves or those exposed to sick cattle. Reducing stress from shipment
If there is any doubt about the health of cattle, take the body temperature prior to loading. It is more economical to treat feverish cattle and to delay shipment. 2.
Insist that cattle are assembled and held for shipment for the shortest period of time possible. 3.
Avoid overcrowding cattle during hauling. Overcrowding creates excitement, slipping and falling. Calves weighing 500 pounds should have approximately 8 square feet of floor space each. 4.
Trucks that have wooden floors should be bedded with sand, or straw and sand, to help prevent slipping and falling. Straw should be used in trucks that have aluminum floors in order to absorb excess moisture. 5.
Don't use electric prods. Handle cattle as gently as possible when loading and unloading. Any excitement is stressful. 6.
Buyers should insist that cattle be trucked from point of origin to feed yard in the shortest time practical. Two drivers on long hauls has been shown to reduce morbidity and mortality after arrival at feedlot. Managing new arrivals
Thoroughly clean and repair lot and equipment for new cattle. Repair fences and fill mud holes. Remove wire, stones and other objects. These measures should reduce foot injuries and foot rot problems. 2.
Provide unloading facilities and chutes so cattle are handled with least amount of stress. Chutes should be no more than 24 inches in width for cattle up to 1,000 pounds. Avoid frequent handling or movement of cattle until they have recovered from stress of shipment. 3.
A small lot should be provided for treatment and isolation of sick animals. Individual, easily cleaned feed and water containers should be available. The lot should have a squeeze gate or some method to restrain animals for examination and treatment. 4.
Keep animals from different sources separated as much as possible. New arrivals should be penned apart from cattle already in the lot and kept from drinking the same water or eating from the same bunk. 5.
Observe cattle frequently and at a distance before animals are aroused. 6.
Watch for cattle that fail to eat, appear tired or show other signs of illness. 7.
Take sick animals to sick pen for diagnosis and possible treatment by or upon advice of a veterinarian. 8.
Take body temperatures. Treat cattle with temperatures over 103.5 degrees F. A temperature elevation is often...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document