April 04, 2016

(Dan) Hey folks, Dr. Dan here today from DocTalk. Thanks for joining me today. I appreciate you watching the show. We’re gonna talk about bullers, calvers and bloats. Things that go on in the springtime in feedyards. We’ll talk about them and much more. Thanks for joining me. And stay tuned after these messages.

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(Dan) Hey folks, thanks for joining me on the show today. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson here from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. And someone stole my coffee cup. I don’t know where it went, but they said they ordered me a new one so I’m down to the old cardboard, on-the-go type of cup. So, anyway, we all need our caffeine. Now, we’re gonna talk about springtime issues in feedyards. And some of the things that I categorize as I go into a feedyard as a consultant and still go into feedyards as a consultant is we’re going to be looking at bullers, calvers and the heifers and bloats across both sexes. And now we’re going to start out talking about bullers. And bullers, there are bullies and bullers in life. And the bullies do the riding and the bullers take the abuse. And so when we think about a buller situation it occurs in steers. We still don’t know why this happens. We don’t know if it’s due to a social interaction with cattle, or whether or not it’s due to some hormonal problem with the one that’s being ridden. Or a hormonal problem with the ones doing the riding. But what we do know, is that when we see a steer being ridden repeatedly and followed by a group of other steers, this is an emergency situation within your feedlot facility. If you don’t remove that steer from the pen, they will ride him until he is down. And they will ride him until he is crippled and can’t get up. The swelling, the pain, from the constant riding and badgering is persistent beyond belief. So if you see a calf out in your yard being ridden that’s being bulled, you need to go remove that animal from the pen. Once you remove the animal from the pen, we can try to do a 24 hour what they call “drying off.” So, remove the calf for a day and try to introduce the animal again. If the animal is ridden again, then you’ll need to remove that animal and put it in a pen. A lot of feedyards will have buller pen or they’ll have some sort of convalescent pen or other housing and place that animal in the pen. Another time that you can try to reintroduce that animal to the pen is when you re-implant steers. So, if you bring the pen up to re-implant, so we bring them up to the processing barn and we’re kind of jostling around, you can go get that steer that was a buller and reintroduce during the point in time in which you’re re-implanting and then when you place them back in the pen, sometimes they’ll stick. Otherwise we need to just keep that animal in a pen by itself until the point in time that we ship the pen. Another thing that you can do in your feedyard facility and in a pen if you’re having a pen that is having quite a few buller problems, you can put what we call a buller rail in the pen. It used to be we would go and we would weld pipe across the corners and calves could go underneath there and then they wouldn’t be ridden, they could hide from the bullies. Problem is when we go to ship fats, those cattle would go run underneath that corner and we couldn’t get them out. What we’ve done is put in portables. And you can take a portable cage and build it the height of a steer and actually chain that buller cage to your bunk rail of your feedyard, up on the apron. And those calves not only have a place then that they can hide and get away from the bullies, but they can also consume feed while they’re up at the bunk. So, some different ideas about bullers just remember that it’s an emergency situation. It happens in steers. We need to try to remove that animal then we can reintroduce and if we have a pen that’s having constant buller issues, you can put a buller rail in and make some changes. We’re going to talk more about springtime issues in the feedyards. Calvers is next.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine where I am the Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology. And I’m glad to join you today and talk about springtime issues in the feedyard. We talked about bullers and then the other one is it seems as though, I don’t think people realize this, but 20 percent of heifers that arrive on feed in feedyards are bred. And 10 percent of the bred heifers are what we would consider long bred. Short bred heifers are heifers that are zero to four months gestation. And anything after four months gestation is considered long bred. The importance of the separation of short bred and long bred is that once the animal is past four months gestation and into that five months of the gestation period, the placenta starts to produce progesterone, which even if you knock off the corpus luteum from the ovary to end the pregnancy, the placenta could carry the pregnancy, produce enough progesterone to maintain the pregnancy and carry that calf to term. So, if we’re going to abort heifers that are short bred we can just give them a prostaglandin and lutalyse or ProstaMate shot and within 48 to 72 hours they’ll slip that fetus. However, if they have been bred four months or longer, then we have to give not only the ProstaMate or lutalyse to slice that corpus luteum off the ovary, but we also have to give them ten milliliters of dexamethasone to simulate the fetal cortisol that we would have at the point in time of parturition. When we give those two shots together we still have 48 to 72 hours before that fetus is aborted. If we don’t do anything in the processing area like preg check and abort then we have to be able to watch for pregnant heifers within the feedyard. These heifers were not intended to have calves. And there’s nothing probably more agonal death in the feedyard than a fat, piggy heifer trying to have a term calf and not being able to deliver it. So, we need to ride through the pen during the day and don’t do it when you’re trying to look for BRD or doing your normal pen riding. You will know you’ll be able to see when the heifers start to belly down or bag up and start to have udder formation, or if they’re springing and their vulvas are swollen. Or usually for me, we have our first calf in the pen and you’re like, “Oh, man.” So when you go through and you ride and you’re looking for pregnancy, you really need to dedicate yourself and your pen riders to just doing that. So, what we usually do, is we go though our normal day. So that we don’t forget to look for bovine respiratory disease or lameness or things to that nature. And then we’ll go back through the pen of heifers and we’ll look for ones that look like they’re close to calving, move them to a hospital area where we can watch them more closely. If we have some heifers, there’s quite a few of them, we might just ship those animals to slaughter early and get those out of the feedyard to make sure that they don’t have dystocia and issues to that nature. Always remember this though, you cannot send a cow or a heifer that is close or in the process of calving on a truck or trailer or to a slaughter facility. They’ll send them back. When we come back, we’re going to start to talk about another springtime issue in feedyards and that’s bloats. So, stay tuned and more after these messages.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson here from Kansas State University and we’re talking about springtime health issues in the feedyard. And lord knows I’ve lived them and spent a lot of time in feedyards and we talked about bullers and we’ve talked about calvers. And now we’re going to talk something that is non sex specific which is bloat. And when we think about bloats in feedyards, generally we think of those occurring in the spring. And there’s a couple of reasons why we have those occur in the spring. One, is the population of cattle that we have at hand. In the springtime in feedyards is when we have a lot of cattle that are 1,000 pounds to 1,200 pounds to 1,400 pounds. Those animals that have been in the feedyards for 100 days to 120 days, and their intakes are really starting to climb. The other one is that during the springtime we start to get increased day length. And we start to get different patterns of melatonin in the cattle and with that increased day length, we have increased feeding patterns. One of the things that we always watch for in the spring and Spencer Swingle, my friend and nutritionist at Cactus is the one that helped me understand this, is what we call the spring pop. And the spring pop is that during a point in time of the spring, while cattle are on feed due to the warm weather, the increased day length, we will actually see our intakes go up across the feedyard, on average across all pens by about a pound, a pound and a half a day. And that increase in spring pop is indicative of the time in which we’re going to see more bloats and more acidosis issues in your cattle feeding facility. So really watching for that spring pop. Another thing is that happens during the spring is wind. And wind will change the behavior of cattle. A lot of times you’ll see cattle when we have severe wind in the spring, they’ll ball up in the corner. And the cattle are balled up in the corner with their butts into the wind. And as soon as that wind dies down they’re hungry and they’ll charge the bunk. I’ve seen weather cause more bloats than diet or ration mfsformulations year in and year out. So, when we’re thinking about bloats, we’re gonna think about the spring pop thinking about the spring weather. And then the last thing we’ll think about is daylight savings time and feed delivery. Cattle don’t wear watches. OK? So one of the things that dictates cattle grazing patterns or cattle feeding patterns is the sun. And so when the sun comes up, when the sun goes down if you watch wildlife, that’s when they’re out eating early in the morning or early in the evening. And cattle, one of the things that we have that cattle don’t understand, is what we call daylight savings time. And so when we spring forward with our watches in the spring, along with the spring pop and the windy weather, we can cause some issues with feed delivery. So, what we’ll want to do is about a month before daylight savings time is we’ll start to step back our feeding time so that when daylight savings time, we’ll adjust about 15 minutes a day for four weeks. So when we hit daylight savings time then the cattle and the people are adjusted to the time change and didn’t even know it happened. So, quite a few things that can be going on. You know, wilder cattle will stay away from the bunk during the day and charge it at night, that can lead to some bloat issues, things to that nature. When we come back, we’ll talk about some things you can do to reduce the risk of bloat. You’re watching DocTalk. More after these messages.

(Dan) Hey folks, Dr. Dan from DocTalk here. Thanks for joining me and thanks for talking about something that I love talking about-feedlots. I spent many years working in feedyards, whether I was on the processing crew or on the pen riding crew. And then after I went to veterinary school I wound up being fortunate enough to be a feedlot veterinarian and I still teach. And I still work with feedlots on a day-to-day basis. So, when I get an opportunity to talk about things going on in the yard, it’s a lot of fun. A lot of these things too, like bloat, we can talk about if you’ve raised purebred bulls, or if you’re putting weaning calves on your ranch, some of these things can play a role there as well. It’s not just feedyard specific. So, when we’re talking about bloats, probably our number one control method of preventing bloats in feeder cattle, is the feeding of ionophores, and specifically the feeding of Rumensin or Bovatec. And ionophores modulate feed intake, OK? And so when we feed these at 27 to 30 grams per ton, we can actually reduce feed intake by two to three percent while having the same amount of gain. And some of this can be due to modulation of intake. When we look at some of the feedyard studies that Rick Stock did in the 90s at the University of Nebraska, we could see that when we feed Rumensin we have lower variation in feed intake from day-to-day with end pens, and across pens across the feedyard. So, that’s something that really helps lend itself. The other thing you have to realize is that bloat is an individual animal syndrome. We don’t have an entire pen bloat. We find a calf within a pen that’s bloated and so we try to manage bloat at a pen level because we feed the pen. Even though we have to understand that within that pen on a day-to-day basis, the individual intakes of these cattle are all over the board. We’ve done a lot of work with GrowSafe and looked at feed intakes and some cattle consume large meals and a few times a day. Some cattle consume small meals, multiple times a day. Each individual animal is different and each individual animal has its own eating pattern. Products and technology such as our ionophores are just tools that can help modulate and even out the intakes, so we don’t have these radical ups and downs. Feed delivery, working with your nutritionist, making sure that you’re having consistent bunk reading, as we’ve talked about in other episodes is vitally important, especially when you have that population of cattle. But springtime, population, bullers, calvers and bloats, we’re going to see those animals in the springtime in feedyards. Thanks for watching DocTalk today. Remember always work with your local veterinarian. And if you want to know more about what we do on DocTalk you can find us on the web at www.doctalktv.com. Thanks for watching the show today. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson and I’ll see you down the road.

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