Ask the expert: Mixing cows from drought-stricken ranches

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Q: We’re buying young cow from drought stricken ranches and moving them to ours. Do we co-mingle or segregate for how long? We have been blessed with a few extra tons of cow feed and are in the process of saving young cows from slaughter. So, they may stay in the system for a long time to come.

Answer from Kansas State University Extension cow-calf specialist Bob Weaber, PhD.

Anytime you bring new animals onto your property you should quarantine (don’t comingle) these animals for 30-45 days. This period of time will allow these animals to break an acute disease they may have been exposed to prior to or during transport to your farm or ranch. Additionally, during this period of time you should bring these animals vaccinations in line with the rest of your herd prior to comingling.

Be sure to inquire about testing and transport requirements for home state to resident state for interstate transport of breeding animals. Likely some testing or documentation of vaccination status may be required for brucellosis, tuberculosis and trichomoniasis (bulls). Unless the animals are coming from herd that has been tested free of BVD-PI animals, animals entering the quarantine should be tested for BVD-PI status. Additionally, producers should inquire about the status of source herd for Johnes Disease and Anaplasmosis. If status is unknown or source herd had incidents with these diseases, animals should be tested to prevent introduction of these disease to resident herd. Newly arrived animals should be dewormed as they were from drought affected pastures and were undoubtedly grazing short pastures. Be sure to provide a mineral supplementation program that has good levels of vitamin

The quarantine period also provides an opportunity to correct nutritional and body condition deficiencies. The segregation of these animals allows the efficient supplementation of the animals that are in need without providing unnecessary supplementation to resident herd. Of special note, animals grazing low quality and dormant forage are likely deficient in vitamin A. Vitamin A precursor carotene is abundant in green forage. Carotene levels drop substantially in mature forage and in stored hay. Cattle can store vitamin A in the liver. However, a mature cow can only store four to six months of required vitamin A. Repletion of vitamin A stores requires feeding at rates of three to five times the recommended daily requirement. For appropriate supplementation level of your stock consult your herd veterinarian or nutritionist.



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