Improving the percentage of calves surviving to weaning must first focus on nutrition and management rather than relying solely on vaccines or antibiotics, according to Bob Larson, extension veterinarian on the Beef Focus Team at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The first step in reducing dystocia is to make good genetic selections. Proper heard health at birth increases calf vigor at birth and decreases the interval from birth to suckling. Prior to calving, producers should ensure that heifers and cows receive adequate energy and protein through a cost-effective feeding or supplementation program.

At calving time, provide a calving area free from mud and wind. Dr. Larson suggests segregating calves into different nursery pastures by age to assure that young calves are not exposed to older calves that may be shedding scour-causing organisms. He adds that all calves that develop scours should be treated and moved immediately away from healthy calves.