The web browser you are using is out of date and no longer supported by this site. For the best TractorSupply.com experience, please consider updating your browser to the latest version.
Buy Online Pick Up in Store Now available - Tractor Supply Co.
Navigate to Shopping Cart
Cart Item Count
 
  • Left Arrow
    My Account
  • Left Arrow
    My Account
  • Make My Store

    Your nearest store doesn't match your preferred store. Do you want to change the nearest store as your preferred store?

    CONFIRM CLEAR INFO?

    Click "YES" to clear all the customer data, cart contents and start new shopping session.

    Your current shopping session will get automatically reset in seconds.
    If you are still active user then please click "NO"

    Changing your store affects your localized pricing. This includes the price of items you already have in your shopping cart. Are you sure you want to change your store?

    Your nearest store doesn't match your preferred store. Do you want to change the nearest store as your preferred store?


    • To Shop Online
    • To Check In-Store Availability

    click here
    We do not share this information with anyone. For details,please view our Privacy Policy

    Cattle Management is the Key to Your Herd's Health

    The health of each animal on your farm is important, but livestock health is often discussed in terms of the whole herd. That's because whether you have two cattle or 200, what distresses one easily can affect the others.

    Transmissible diseases, environmental conditions, and weather may affect every animal.

    Your cattle management is the key to your herd's health — how you move them, whether you quarantine sick animals, grazing methods, parasite control, and much more.

    Well-planned herd management, which includes minimizing stress and crowding, careful care of calves, and implementing a good vaccination program, can help prevent most illnesses.

    Biosecurity

    One of the most effective ways to keep contagious diseases off your farm is to keep a closed herd. Avoid bringing in new cattle unless you are sure they are disease-free.

    It's often safer to raise your own heifers than to purchase new cows. If you buy cows, heifers, or a new bull, buy from a reputable breeder, where you know the animals' genetics and health history.

    A healthy animal may pick up a disease at an auction yard, if penned around a sick animal. Bringing a calf home from an auction — especially a day-old dairy calf to raise on a bottle or on a beef cow that lost her calf — is a common way to bring home diseases.

    The tiny calf may not have received colostrums — the mother's first milk that contains important antibodies against diseases — and might be vulnerable to illnesses picked up at the dairy where it was born or at the auction yard. That calf may get sick after you bring it home, putting your own healthy animals at risk.

    If you purchase new animals, keep them isolated for two weeks to make sure they are not incubating a disease. If an animal becomes sick while in the isolation pen or stall, you have an opportunity to clean that area, removing all feces and using an appropriate disinfectant — rather than having the sick animal infecting your herd.

    Some diseases, such as BVD (bovine virus diarrhea) can be devastating. One infected animal brought to your farm can be disastrous, even if your cattle are vaccinated against this disease, because vaccinations are never 100 percent effective.

    There is a BVD test that will show whether an animal is persistently infected and a danger to other cattle for the rest of its life. Any animal you purchase, such as a new bull, cows, or heifers, should be tested before you buy them.

    Nutrition

    An adequate and balanced diet is the cornerstone of cattle health. Each class of animal — young calves, lactating cows, dry cows, bulls, yearlings being finished for butchering — needs a sufficient amount and balance of food and minerals to meet its particular needs.

    Even if you diligently vaccinate cattle, they may still get sick if they are malnourished or have a mineral deficiency.

    Poor nutrition is the underlying cause of diseases such as scours, respiratory illnesses, and foot rot, along with infertility in adults and slow growth in young animals. Pregnant cows with inadequate protein levels don't produce enough colostrum for their newborn calves, making those babies more vulnerable to disease during their first weeks of life.

    Your county extension agent can help you test soils and feeds to see if they are lacking in important minerals, or check your hay to determine protein levels.

    Trace mineral deficiencies can be corrected by using supplements (added to salt mixes) or given to each animal orally or by injection. Consult your vet, extension agent, or a cattle nutritionist to examine your feeds and help you make necessary adjustments.

    Separate heifers from older cows for winter feeding. They are still growing and need a higher level of protein for optimum health, growth, breeding, or to produce adequate colostrum if they're pregnant with their first calves.

    They need some alfalfa mixed with grass hay, for instance, or a protein supplement. Feeding them separately also makes sure they get their share of the feed.

    Always provide adequate sources of clean water. Dirty water may spread disease. If cattle are short on water, they suffer from dehydration or impaction, and steers may develop urinary stones if they don't drink enough during cold weather, causing their urine to become too concentrated.

    Vaccination

    Develop an appropriate vaccination schedule for your herd to prevent the most prevalent or devastating diseases in your region.

    Many stockmen who want to avoid use of antibiotics and other drugs to produce natural or organic meat and milk think they should not use livestock vaccines, but this is a misconception. Vaccination is one of the tools to keep livestock healthy and eliminate the need for antibiotic treatments.

    Some diseases come to your cattle via wildlife, insects, or bacterial spores that are ever-present in the environment. Vaccination is the only way to prevent these diseases and should always be a part of your total herd health plan.

    The vaccines you use will depend on your region and your herd's risk for transmission. Discuss a vaccination program with your veterinarian to figure out which diseases to be concerned about, and how often you should vaccinate.

    Parasite Control

    Even if cattle look healthy, parasites, both internal and external, may be robbing them of nutrients. The results? Lower weaning weights in calves, less milk production, less efficient immune system, and lower reproduction rates.

    External parasites such as flies, mosquitoes, and ticks carry disease and steal an animal's nutrients by sucking blood. Solutions include insecticide applicators such as back rubbers or dusters, or insecticide ear tags.

    Internal parasites such as stomach and intestinal worms rob nutrients and may lower resistance to disease. The aptly-named liver fluke, for example, damages the liver, causing organ failure.

    If cattle are spread out on large pastures, internal parasites are not as much of a problem. In small areas, however, cattle continually graze where they defecate, picking up worm larvae that hatch from eggs passed in manure.

    Because most of the larvae are on the lowest part of the plant, overgrazed pastures — where plants are eaten off close to the ground — are most risky for re-infecting the cattle.

    Break the worm's life cycle and keep parasitism to a minimum by seasonal worming at proper times to prevent contamination of pastures, avoiding close grazing, and moving cattle to a new pasture when they are dewormed.

    If an animal does show signs of illness, immediately isolate it to prevent spread of disease to the others.