Southeast of Kansas in Mississippi, Marty Caldwell, DVM, Vaiden, Miss., says his clients’ calves born in January and February are usually weaned in August. One of his biggest challenges is a high-stress weaning period coupled with heat stress.
Branding and weaning programs
Aside from colostral immunity, branding time is usually the first chance to immunize a calf against disease. Richards says Hawaiian producers have two methods for vaccinating calves for the first time – a branding program or a brand/wean program. The branding program consists of vaccinations, castration, dehorning, deworming and branding at 2-4 months of age. This is then followed up with further processing at weaning time.
Because these Hawaiian calves go through Canada (see sidebar), they require additional vaccinations. At branding they get vaccinations for blackleg, malignant edema, Black’s disease, Clostridium sordelli and IBR/BVD/PI3 (modified-live vaccine). They are also dewormed. Two to three months later at weaning, vaccinations for these 5- to 7-month-old calves include an 8-way clostridial, IBR/BVD/PI3/BRSV (modified-live vaccine)/Lepto 5 and pinkeye, and calves are dewormed again. Richards says the addition of pinkeye vaccine is a relatively new component of the program. “This has been added in the last year and is currently only given at processing at weaning time, and appears to have substantially reduced our problems with pinkeye,” he notes.
Just-weaned Hawaiian calves will learn to eat out of a bunk for five to seven days and then return to pasture before being shipped to Canada.
Caldwell’s Mississippi clients usually give a preweaning vaccination consisting of a modified-live viral 5-way, 7-way clostridium, Pasteurella and are dewormed. “These calves normally do better than others, but it also depends on the herd’s immunity level.”
Laurin is seeing more of her Kansas producers willing to put a 4-way live or live/killed combination vaccine into 2- to 3-month-old calves. “It tends to shut down the sickness seen at 4-5 months,” she says. Her clients consider a 4-way (if calves are not under 2 months of age), blackleg or blackleg with tetanus and pinkeye.
At pre-weaning, calves get a 4-way, blackleg and Pasteurella dependent upon two scenarios: if the producer is able to provide the vaccination paperwork to the auction barn or seller and gets paid for it or if the producer retains ownership and cattle are custom fed.