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Calf Scours Vaccine

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Dan Cragg


17 June 2020

At an already stressful time of the year, sick and scouring calves is frustrating and demoralising. Extra time spent having to look after these calves means:

  1. less of a break for the calf rearer
  2. less time and energy put into healthy calves
  3. lower growth rates in calves resulting in future production and fertility losses
  4. less replacements than required due to deaths.

Calves require antibodies from their mother as they are born with no immunity. These antibodies are not passed through the placenta; therefore, the calve will get the protection they need from the colostrum.

The three Q’s - Quickly, Quantity and Quality are the main aspects to colostrum management. Scours vaccines are an easy way to boost the quality of the colostrum that you feed to your calves. These vaccines have been proven to reduce the scours in calves due to the main pathogens, including rotavirus, coronavirus (not related to COVID-19), and E. coli.

Scours vaccines need to be given at least 3 weeks before the planned start of calving (depending on the vaccine used). If you have detailed scanning information the herd can be split into two vaccination groups, early and late calvers, that way ensuring the antibody levels are still adequate as the season progresses.

It is important to note that vaccinating your cows alone is not enough to reduce calf scours. Vaccination only works when supported by good calf rearing management practices. There are a couple of different options of vaccines so give us a call to discuss these for your herd.


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