Autumn Housing

By MWI Animal Health

Autumn 2020 has brought some unseasonably warm weather with it, as we move into the colder months the rain has started to make an appearance and as we know in the UK once it starts it often forgets to stop.

Housing brings extra costs but when managed correctly, weights and growth rates can be maintained, and cattle finished quicker which benefits you in the long term.

With beef prices continuing to hold strong, and ground starting to poach, many people’s thoughts will be turning to housing cattle out of the weather to maximise growth rates and prevent too much pasture damage. Housing cattle brings its own unique set of challenges, and can be very stressful, for young cattle in particular. Managing a smooth transition and ensuring a suitable level of preventive healthcare to help prevent pneumonia or endo/ecto parasites is one way of staying ahead of the game.

Cattle should be housed clean of any worm, fluke or lice burdens, once cattle are brought inside getting on top of these parasites is made more difficult due to the number of animals per sq/ft of shed and the increased moisture and temperatures in the environment. Lungworm can stay dormant over winter and therefore can survive from one grazing season to the next. Dosing pre housing not only breaks the life cycle of the worm, keeping the new pasture clean in the spring but it also maximises the animal’s intake from feed during the winter. Both white wormers and clear drenches are effective against worm larvae.

Pneumonia is another common ailment which can impact housed stock, lungworm, stress, transport, and handling are all factors that can increase the risk to stock. Pre housing vaccinations can significantly reduce the risk of cattle contracting pneumonia/BRD. Alongside these simple steps such as avoiding over stocking, making sure there is adequate ventilation in the shed, and keeping on top of any worm burdens all go a long way to reducing the impact and risk to your herd.

7 steps to a successful winter housing cattle:

  • Keep on top of worm/parasite burdens
  • Reduce risk of disease with considered preventative treatment plan AYR
  • Don’t over stock
  • Keep sheds clean and dry with fresh bedding
  • Make sure sheds have adequate ventilation
  • Fix any leak troughs or pipes to reduce moisture levels
  • Feed clean quality forage