October 05, 2015

(Dan) Hi there folks. Welcome to Doc Talk. Glad that you joined us today. I have two special guests, Dr. Tom Noffsinger and Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz from Production Animal Consultation. We’re gonna talk about weaning and acclimating cattle. We’re glad you joined us on the show today. Stay tuned after these messages.

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(Dan) Welcome to Doc Talk and gentlemen, thanks for joining me today. (Kip) Absolutely. (Tom) It’s good to be here Dr. Dan. (Dan) Well folks, Dr. Tom Noffsinger, Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz. They’re world class veterinarians and colleagues and I’m fortunate enough to call them friends and to get ’em cornered here in Manhattan and get ’em to be on the show is a special treat for me. And I know by the time we get done with the show it’s gonna be a special treat for y’all because they’re a wealth of knowledge, they’re mentors for me and it’s fabulous to have you here. And we’re gonna talk about something that every Fall we go through and it’s weaning calves. And then once we do wean ’em, getting ’em acclimated in to either the grow yard, stocker, feedlot situation. And let’s start out with…I think that Kip you said something before we even started that acclimating or weaning doesn’t start the day we wean. (Kip) Yea, so one of the biggest misnomers today in my eyes is something Dr. Tom and Bud Williams taught me-is that weaning does not occur the day of weaning. Weaning occurs the day the calf was born. So when you ask the crowd that sometimes when you’re doing a demonstration or a show, is they…you ask people, “When does the day of weaning occur?” And they’ll say at 205 days or in August or September, sometimes October. And I say, “No, it starts the day the calf is born.” Because there’s a split second there for about five, maybe sometimes a minute where we create cow and calf separation when we identify the calf with a tag, or give a vaccination to that calf. We are separating that cow from the calf at that point in time. How we do that is so vital as far as to prepare that calf for when that day actually occurs. (Dan) And Dr. Tom you’ve done quite a bit of that work with not only other people, but your own calves. (Tom) What’s really embarrassing to me, Dan, is what I expected at weaning. I expected cattle to be separated and these confused babies would circle the pen and cry and have almost no feed intake for several hours or several days. When in fact people like Chris and Miranda from Australia, and Bud have taught us that we should expect the animals to gain the same amount of weight on weaning day as they did the day before. And if I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t believe it. But if you think about what Dr. Kip just said, if we start training and preparing, there’s no reason those animals can’t have a high level of appetite and confidence on the day that they’re separated from their Mother. (Dan) Yea, and I think a lot of times you know going out there snatching the calf or acting like you’re trying to steal the calf, instead of working with the cow, you’re just creating negative impressions all the way across the herd. (Kip) Yea, you don’t have to prove to her that you’re a natural predator. She already knows that and so you have to convince her that you’re not there to eat her calf today, or take her calf away from her. When they kind of bull up on ya and they want to…they think you are doing those things, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they want to hurt you at that point in time. So, how you do it, how you handle the cow at that point in time really means a lot at that point. (Dan) Good, well let’s take a break. When we come back from the break, we’ll talk a little bit more about some of these different separation techniques that you can practice prior to weaning and things that y’all have employed. Thanks for watching Doc Talk, we’ve got two great ones here. We’ll see you right after these messages.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here at the Veterinary School at Kansas State University. And I’m joined by Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz and Dr. Tom Noffsinger who are veterinarians and also are with the group, Production Animal Consultation, which is a group of bovine veterinarians. They also do some other protein sources, but we’re not gonna mention those today. We’re gonna focus on cattle. But international consultation of people’s herds all around the world and not only do they…are they asked to come on to people’s farms and ranches on a day-to-day basis to help them on production, medicine and handling, they’re also very busy being on the road doing veterinary continuing education, producer meetings and we’re just fortunate enough to catch ’em and get ’em here today. But Dr. Tom you said something that was pretty interesting, that building trust in the calf, helps the mother. (Tom) If we know that we’re gonna have challenges at weaning or calf separation in the fall of the year on spring born calves, Dan, what’s amazing to me is if we tag those cattle correctly, if we approach branding as an opportunity to teach the animals that they can be separated, if we refine the way we sort and separate mothers from their babies, all of a sudden weaning day is just like any other day of production. Branding, separating these mothers from their babies can be as simple as not just asking the mothers to come by and go left and the babies right, there’s lots of ways that we can train these animals to be sorted seamlessly. So it makes sense to the animals. When we brand it’s an important BQA day. We have to make sure that we have correct injection site selection. Make sure that we, whatever we’re gonna do to identify and immunize that calf, is done according to BQA standards. At the end of the day how we separate those animals, how we restrain them during branding and then how we let them go back with their mother is an important, important event in that baby’s life. (Dan) You bet. And Kip, we think about some of the things when… I never really thought about it, but the mild separation actually builds up confidence for that calf to go through the real separation. (Kip) Yes. It’s like in people, you know sending kids to preschool before they go to kindergarten, and kindergarten before they go to elementary and so forth. You’re preparing that student or that calf for what’s going to happen later on in his life. And I have one client Wulf Cattle Company, up in Atkinson, Nebraska, that they’ve started implementing some of these ideas where like a pre-pasture turnout vaccinations. They’ll create separation of that cow and that calf for six to eight hours just so they start preparing him to be separated from Mom. The cow on one side of the fence, the calves still in the corral. Come preconditioning times in the fall or in the late summer, number one they pick their day appropriately. They don’t try to vaccinate on a day when it’s gonna be 100 degrees. out or 98 degrees out. They try to choose a day that is appropriate to vaccinate calves. And then at the end of the deal they really work hard at just doing the six to eight hours again. And then putting a bunk of feed in front of that calf so that he’s gonna be introduced to something that he’s gonna be eating in about two to three weeks. (Dan) Well, let’s come back to that. Cause I want to try to go into a little more detail. But let’s take a break. Let’s come back. Let’s talk a little bit about that six to eight hour separation, feeding the bunk. You’re watching DocTalk and we’re glad that you joined us.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz, Dr. Tom Noffsinger. They’re with Production Animal Consultation and they spend a lot of time in veterinary practice and in production practice with many producers worldwide, have quite an organization. Y’all have veterinarians involved inside the United States, outside the United States that are involved whether it’s in Australia. Incredible organization wealth of knowledge, somebody that helps us at the Beef Cattle Institute on a day-to-day basis. Keeps us abreast of industry issues and industry solutions. But Dr. Kip as we left you’re talking a little bit about Wulf Cattle Company and some of the tremendous practices that they’re employing with these calves prior to the day of maternal separation. (Kip) Yep and so you know when they introduce those calves to a diet prior to weaning, something that they’re going to be eating the day of weaning, I think it’s so important. We’ve had research done in Canada where they’ve shown the importance of introducing some level of energy to that calf. And what that does from mucosal immune, innate immune production or sustainability if you will, and how important that is to health. And one of the things we’ve seen there in our fall calves that we weaned this spring up there, is we’ve seen what Dr. Tom was talking about, is that calves consuming the same amount of feed that they were consuming the prior day at weaning time. And we did that on 500 calves this spring on the fall calves and it is amazing to me is come the first part of April, Dr. Tom, those calves were 1,100 pounds in the feed yard. And I think we treated like two animals. That it was all those steps that we took to prepare that animal to get to that point. It all started at calving time and we just continued those steps all the way through to weaning and then on Just a continual day-to-day event of preparation. (Dan) You know and we think about all the issues that we’ve discussed whether it’s cattle health and well being, judicious antimicrobial usage, food safety, the whole realm. Everything that you’re saying is exactly where we need to be. Dr. Tom how do we get there? How do we get producers to understand and see this? (Tom) Well, what amazes me Dan is what Dr. Kip is describing at Wulf Cattle Company is simply these caregivers understand that at some point that young calf is going to leave it’s source of guidance and leadership, its mother. And what these people are gradually doing is just demonstrating to both that mother and that baby that here I am, I’m gonna be the source of leadership and care and nutrition and hydration when your mother goes someplace else. And those young animals learn quickly and it’s just a wonderful process. And so when an animal is in question, has curiosity, is not settled, they quickly, quickly accept that guidance and leadership from that caregiver. (Dan) That’s excellent. Folks, we’re gonna take a break. When we come back we’ll wrap up this show but I want you all to know that this is going to be a two part segment. So, we’ll have week one and week two. So, we’re talking about week one, preparing those calves for weaning and separation. Part two is going to be acclimating them when they come to the feedyard. You’re watching DocTalk. We’ll be back after this message.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz, Dr. Tom Noffsinger, veterinarians with Production Animal Consultation. And Dr. Tom we mentioned during the break that sometimes when you do the preweaning vaccinations or you are going to move these animals through the chute that you might be able to do some practices that will make it easier to handle ’em for the multiple times you’re gonna run ’em through. (Tom) Absolutely Dan. All of our cow/calf people have a vested interest in their customer, where if they retain ownership of these cattle it’s really important to build their confidence, especially if you’re in the seed stock or you’re gonna save some replacement heifers. Pre-weaning vaccination is amazing. It’s amazing how well vaccines work if we give ’em prior to disease, prior to stress. What we added to that whole idea is that in a few minutes you can take a group of naive cattle that are a little bit sensitive and teach ’em to go through the processing facility, the chute. You can send 80 calves through that chute in less than 10 minutes. Simply then stop, bring the cattle back and then ask ’em to start through the facility for real and it’s just amazing how that changes those animals for the rest of their lives. And it absolutely gives those cattle more confidence so that whether you’re weaning or shipping or transferring these cattle they’re more willing to work for you. (Dan) Absolutely and just taking that one step and taking your time leading the cattle from the front, letting them go through that facility can pay off huge dividends throughout their lifetime. (Kip) And just the reduction of endogenous steroids, cortisol and what cortisol does to the immune function with suppressing it. So that when we give our virals and our gram negative bacterial for preconditioning to prepare for those animals prior to disease, how important that is as far as that preparation step. I think man alive it just boosts your humoral immune function in your response to your vaccines if done properly. So, those steps and then having good virals and again gram negative bacterial prior to weaning and to the stressful events that are gonna be coming up. I think it’s just very, very important. (Dan) Black leg as well? (Kip) Black leg. Yes, clostridials are very important and so any of those bacteriums and virals, modified live certainly that you’re gonna give. (Dan) Yep and I think it’s important to understand that reducing the stress, helps the vaccines work better. (Kip) Yes, absolutely. (Dan) Alright. Well, gentlemen, thanks for joining me today. Folks, you must remember that this is the first of a two part series. We’ve got the calves to weaning at this point in time. And when we come back, the show next week we’re gonna be talking about what we do to acclimate ’em when we receive those cattle into the feedlot or the stocker facility. You’ve been watching DocTalk. Remember always work with your local veterinarian and if you want to know more about what we do here at Kansas State University, you can find us on the web at www.vet.ksu.edu. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson, thanks for joining us on DocTalk today. And I’ll see you down the road.

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