Some lice products work better

Delousing products generally require two treatments about three weeks apart to kill all the lice that hatch out from the eggs that weren’t affected by the first treatment.

“There is one new product that does seem to work if you can only pour cattle once,” according to Dr. Dave Barz, a veterinarian in Parkston, S.D. “It’s called Clean-Up II and contains a pyrethroid, which kills adult lice, plus an insect growth regulator that keeps the nymphs and newly hatched lice from maturing.”

It has enough residual effect to thwart the lice that hatch out after the treatment.

“We’ve been using that for several years and are seeing better results,” he said. “This might be something to try if cattle are continuing to have lice problems after traditional treatments. In our area, if you start to have problems, the company you bought the product from will usually give you more, so you can get them re-poured. That’s been their guarantee, at this point in time.”

Many ranchers in his region pour cattle with an avermectin product at turnout time to kill internal as well as external parasites, and again in the fall at roundup to kill lice.

“Most of these cattle are moved with trucks now, so a lot of them get poured as they come off or get on a truck. Any time you are handling the animals, you can think about using a pour-on,” he says. “We’ve talked about rotating the pour-on products, using different ones different years, but we are seeing lice resistance to all of them. The only one that is really helping us right now in terms of thwarting a new hatch of lice is the Clean-Up II.”

Some feedlots now are using injectable and pour-on products at the same time — a full dose of each — and in those groups of cattle we haven’t seen as much problem with lice recurring.

“Hopefully we are getting a better kill, and maybe more residual effect,” Barz says. “We can’t scientifically explain it, but it seems to help.”

For best control, it’s very important to treat all of the animals at the same time, with a proper dose, and not skip any.

“This is why the treatments work so well in the feedlot, because the whole pen is treated. There are no animals skipped, that would re-infest the treated animals,” he says.

The important thing is to have a good lice control program in terms of when to pour the cattle, and how best to break the life cycle. Lice are a bigger problem when animals are confined and grouped together (in terms of spreading lice to one another) as for winter feeding, calving, etc.

“A few years ago, some ranchers decided to use natural products rather than insecticides,” Barz says. “The old way, before we had insecticides, was to use the back-rubbers with oil on them, so the cows’ hair was oily, which tends to deter the lice. But these are only spot treatments. Also, in every herd it seems like there’s a cow or two that act as carriers; they have heavier infestations and may have lice even after treatment, spreading lice to the other cattle.”

Lice are often a problem on young calves.

“If the cow has lice, some are readily transferred to the calf through direct contact, and the lice population explodes on the calf because it is small and thin-skinned,” Barz says. “If you at them closely, some of the lighter-colored calves will almost be black with lice. This is why controlling lice on cows is important, so they won’t spread lice to their calves. Otherwise we have to pour the calves fairly soon also, to decrease their lice populations.”

Some lice are always there, in any herd of cattle. They multiply most readily on the young, the weak, the old and any thin, sick ones. Any animal that is compromised tends to have more lice.

“If an animal is weak, and parasites are taking blood, that animal is more susceptible to pneumonia, scours and other secondary infections,” Barz says. “This is why lice control is so important — not just because the cattle are scratching/rubbing the fence down. Lice are nibbling away at the potential profit from your herd!”

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Ensure deworming of cattle during monsoon

With monsoons ushering in the growth of fresh grass, pets and cattle have a stronger chance of developing worms and parasites in their bodies. Internal worms particularly feed on the food and nutrition in animals which hampers their growth, particularly in the case of cattle and goat kids. In view of this, scientists at Goa-based Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Central Coastal Agricultural Research Institute (ICAR-CCARI) recently held a training programme on the importance of deworming cattle.

“For effectiveness of all vaccines, prior deworming of animals is necessary,” said Dr Sanjay Udharwar, animal scientist at ICAR-CCARI.

 He explained that cattle usually get infections owing to adulterated water and fresh grass in the rainy season. This is because the monsoon environment is favourable for the development of these worms. Animals in the free range system therefore tend to feed on the eggs and larvae of these parasites while grazing or eating food off the ground. These eggs or larvae further develop in the animals’ stomach and absorb the nutrients for themselves.
“Worms cause indigestion, lack of nutrition, and this leads to anemia, resulting in stunted growth of animals. In order to have good health and milk yield in cattle, it is important to regularly deworm them,” said Dr Santosh Desai, director of animal husbandry and veterinary services (AHVS).
AHVS also holds deworming drives three to four times a year at their dispensaries, government veterinary hospitals and sub-centres across Goa. These drives are conducted once every three months wherein the deworming medicine is provided free of cost.

Do your clients control parasites or do they simply deworm their cattle?


The difference between those concepts has become increasingly significant, particularly as drug resistance expands among the nematode species affecting cattle in North America. Without a parasite-control plan focused on long-term sustainability, producers will face declining efficacy of treatments and associated lost performance, animal health and reproduction.

As concerns over drug resistance grows, producers need to move away from simple “cookbook” formulas for deworming cattle, says Louisiana State University Extension Veterinarian Christine Navarre, DVM, MS. Navarre recently outlined current thinking on parasite control at the Academy of Veterinary Consultants Summer Conference in Denver.

The “ideal” parasite-control program for any operation depends on a range of factors, including geography, cattle type, production schedule, pasture management, types of endemic parasites and, importantly, levels of resistance already established in local parasite populations. Producers, Navarre says, need to work with their veterinarians to customize and implement control programs that include components such as refugia, surveillance and possibly treatments with combinations of drugs, along with other best practices, for sustainable management of internal parasites.

Drug use inevitably leads to development of resistance among parasites, Navarre says, and cattle movements result in the spread of resistant worms to ranches around the country. Practices such as using the same class of anthelmintic for decades, using inappropriate dosage and treating all cattle in the herd have led to a significant resistance problem. She also notes, though, that a treatment failure does not necessarily equal resistance. Mistakes in estimating cattle weights, calculating dosage, mixing or administering products can easily result in improper or inconsistent doses. Ensuring an efficacious dose for every animal treated is critical for short-term success and for minimizing development of resistance over time.

In cattle, researchers increasingly find resistance among Cooperia species, which are one of the most common parasitic worms. Cooperia cause performance losses in calves, but generally do not cause clinical disease, meaning the emergence of resistance can remain undetected in herds without testing. Older cows generally build natural tolerance to Cooperia and other worm species.  Recently, some populations of Ostertagia ostertagi and Haemonchus placei have shown resistance to one or more anthelmintics. Ostertagia in particular could cause significant health and reproductive losses if multi-drug resistance becomes more common.


Killing every worm, however, is an unrealistic and potentially counterproductive goal. Navarre challenges producers to think in terms of “good worms” and “bad worms,” with the bad worms being resistant to one or more drugs and the good worms remaining susceptible. Refugia is the means by which producers maintain a population of susceptible parasites on the ranch, improving sustainability of their control programs. Refugia typically means leaving some animals untreated, but also can involve grazing decisions – leaving some pastures as refuges for susceptible worms rather than trying to keep every pasture “clean.”

Testing and surveillance

Diagnostic testing is required to determine the existence and extent of parasite problems and anthelmintic resistance on each ranch, Navarre says. Quantitative fecal egg counts can determine the magnitude of parasite problems, and the fecal egg count reduction test (FECRT) can be used to estimate anthelmintic resistance. Navarre notes that the FECRT has limitations, with consistently accurate and representative before-and-after counts challenging to achieve. Efficacy below a 95% reduction, and probably below 98%, indicates resistance, with the trend being especially important.

Treatment efficacy

Combination treatments, using two or more dewormers from different classes at the same time, can provide a high level of efficacy and help prevent or reduce resistance when applied along with refugia. Navarre acknowledges the extra cost could deter producers from considering combination treatments, but says they might need to accept some higher costs as investments in the long-term protection of animal health and performance.

Navarre provides this summary list of steps veterinarians can take with clients in designing effective, sustainable parasite-control programs.

  • Minimize other stressors.
  • Maximize nutrition.
  • Understand parasites in your locale.
  • Use best statistical analysis for FECRTs.
  • Think about refugia.
  • Think about pasture management.
  • Don’t buy resistant worms.
  • Proper product selection and use.
  • Cull poor-doers

read more…

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How to Handle Cow-Calving Difficulties


We chose to raise Dutch Belted cows on our homestead because heritage breed cows are good at taking care of themselves. They survive well on grass without grain supplements, they instinctively care for their young, and for the most part, they have easy births. Calving difficulties do happen though, and we want to be prepared when that happens.

How to Check for Calving Difficulties

How to recognize when your cow is in labor: Keep track of your cow’s due date and begin watching her about a week before. Labor could be underway if she goes off by herself, gives repeated low-pitch moo’s, and alternately stands and lies down. There’s no need for us humans to do a thing if calving progresses well.

When to call the veterinarian: We once lost a heifer when waiting too long to call the vet. Therefore, I want to share two calving situations where our intervention may be necessary. If you have watched a cow in labor for an hour, and there is no progress, call the vet. If you see the bag of waters break and the calf is not born within 20 minutes, call the vet. In these situations, the cow and calf need assistance.

Learn to feel for calf position: There may indeed be times when we don’t know how long the cow has been in labor. There are other times, especially in the middle of the night, when five minutes seem like an hour. If you’re not sure what’s going on, and if your cow will allow it, go ahead and check for the calf’s position.

To check for the calf’s position before a hoof has even peeked out, halter the cow or put her in a head-gate or stanchion. Next gently put a gloved hand up the cow’s vagina no higher than your wrist. This gentleness is important because we don’t want to break the bag of waters. You should be able to feel a foot—hopefully two—with a nose just above and slightly behind the hoofs. If you feel two hoofs and a nose, stand way back and allow the cow the peace she needs to deliver the calf herself. read more…

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Water vital for #livestock during drought


A 10 percent loss of body water is fatal to most domestic livestock species.

Livestock producers need to make sure they have enough water for their animals because much of North Dakota is experiencing drought, according to North Dakota State University Extension Service livestock environmental stewardship specialist Miranda Meehan.

“Providing adequate water to livestock is critical for animal health and production; a 10 percent loss of body water is fatal to most species of domestic livestock,” she says. “Keep in mind that water requirements may double during hot weather.”

Carl Dahlen, NDSU Extension beef cattle specialist, says the amount of water livestock need depends on the conditions and type of animal.

“Providing adequate water to livestock is critical for animal health and production; a 10 percent loss of body water is fatal to most species of domestic livestock. Keep in mind that water requirements may double during hot weather.” Miranda Meehan, NDSU Extension service livestock environmental stewardship specialist

The general estimates of daily water intake for beef cattle when the temperature is 90 F are:

Cows – 18 gallons for nursing mothers; 15.3 gallons for bred dry cows and heifers

Bulls – 20 gallons

Growing cattle – 9.5 gallons for a 400-pound animal; 12.7 gallons for a 600-pound animal; 15 gallons for an 800-pound animal

Finishing cattle – 14.3 gallons for a 600-pound animal; 17.4 gallons for an 800-pound animal; 20.6 gallons for a 1,000-pound animal; 24 gallons for a 1,200-pound animal

Estimates of daily water intake for dairy cattle at 80 F are:

Dry cows (for maintenance and pregnancy) – 16.2 gallons for a 1,400-pound animal; 17.3 gallons for a 1,700-pound animal

Lactating 1,500-pound cows (for maintenance and milk production) – 28.9 gallons for 60 pounds of milk production; 32.2 gallons for 80 pounds of milk production; 35.6 gallons for 100 pounds of milk production

Heifers (for maintenance and pregnancy) – 6.1 gallons for a 400-pound animal; 11 gallons for an 800-pound animal; 14.5 gallons for a 1,200-pound animal

For more information, see the NDSU publication “Livestock Water Requirements” at

“Good-quality water can have a major impact on your cattle’s intake and weight gain,” Meehan says. “Canadian studies have shown the quality of water accessible to livestock is directly tied to the amount of forage they consume. Studies report improved gains by as much as 0.24 pound per day in yearlings and 0.33 pound per day in calves.”

In addition, providing good-quality water can improve herd health. Livestock whose primary water sources are ponds and dugouts have a greater risk of contracting illnesses such as giardia, leptospirosis and cyanobacterial poisoning, compared with livestock drinking from a trough.

Dugouts should be fenced to restrict livestock’s direct access to the water. The water then can be piped to a trough. This will increase the water’s palatability and reduce nutrients in the water. Increased nutrients have a direct impact on the growth of certain species of blue-green algae and elevated levels of sulfates, which have the potential to be toxic.

In many instances, the water in dugouts and dams has been reduced greatly because of the drought, increasing the risk for animal health issues related to water quality. Meehan recommends producers using dugouts and dams as their primary water source look into hauling water or installing an alternative water source.

Hauling water is a short-term fix, but it can help get producers through this year’s drought. Water developments are one of the investments that give producers the most bang for the buck, the specialists say.

Common developments include troughs, pumps, wells and pipelines. Many cost-share opportunities are available to producers installing water developments through the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, soil conservation districts or conservation groups. In addition, the North Dakota State Water Commission has opened the Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Program, which will cover up to $3,500 of the eligible costs for water development projects.

“When thinking about water developments, also consider the importance of maintaining an ample supply of good-quality water for cattle during the heat of the summer,” Dahlen advises. “Heat stress can have major impacts on cattle productivity and also can be life-threatening. Evaluate your water supply lines and ensure you have sufficient water pressure and flow capacity to keep troughs full during times of peak water consumption.” Read more…

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Late #calving gives good start on life


It was mid-June, but calving season was a week or so from wrapping up at Herb and Bev Hamann’s Blue Bell Ranch in Clear Lake, South Dakota. The ranch on the Coteau Prairie of far eastern South Dakota is operated by the Hamanns and their children, Breck Hamann and Arla Poindexter. Their philosophy of working with nature to manage the sensitive grasslands made them this year’s winner of the South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award.

That same philosophy plays into the way they approach calving season. The Hamanns calve later in the spring than many operations. Most of the Simmental-Angus calves they raise are born in May, and they say it makes sense for the cattle and the workers.

Herb Hamann, 87, is the first to point out that weather is the main factor that prompted them to push calving back to late spring. The Hamanns and their cattle aren’t fighting weeks of snow storms, cold and mud when calves are dropping. It’s nearly eliminated problems with scours in their newborn calves, he said.

Poindexter admits that this isn’t the year to brag about the advantages of May calving. The first day of the month brought several inches of snow. It didn’t last long, but temperatures were unseasonably cold.

The up side when wintery weather comes in May is that it doesn’t drag on for weeks like it can in February and March. When there are poor conditions that stretch into late spring, the Hamanns don’t have as many calves to keep watch over.

At the time of the May 1 storm, they had about 20 calves to keep watch over instead of the 300 or so they would have if calving started earlier.

This year, the first calf was born April 24, and the last calf came before July 1.

The Hamanns are convinced that late calving helps make better mothers.

Pregnant cows are accustomed to walking and foraging, giving them exercise that makes them more fit for calving. Grazing also gives them better nutrition.

They calve on grass instead of in a barn. Left alone, the Hamanns said a mother’s instinct will kick in and she’ll give her calf better care.

“Nature kind of takes over,” Poindexter said. “She’s almost more like a wild animal.”

They check their cattle each morning and at sundown. Poindexter estimates they have to help pull one out of every 10 first-calf heifers. They pull between 1 and 2 percent of calves out of cows, usually when they’re not presented right or twins are tangled in the womb.

Late calving also helps preserve the pastures at the Blue Bell Ranch.

They’re able to change grazing patterns when the grass needs it, and they don’t have to haul the cattle to the pastures.

Later in the season when pastures start to get more sparse, the smaller calves are easier on the grass.

You don’t have big March calves and their mothers on a pasture, Poindexter said.

“You’re kind of saving grass when grass is growing,” she added.

They turn the bulls out for breeding July 27, as the cows are moved to a new pasture of fresh grass.

Quality grass plays a big role in cattle health. This year’s grass is helping mothers grow strong to produce next year’s calf crop.

“The next calf is already started,” Poindexter said.

One concern some producers have about late calving is in conception rates. They worry that when cows are bred in the hot summer months, the pregnancy won’t take.

In North Dakota, the Dickinson Research Extension Center has been calving in May since 2012. Their data show the pregnancy rate for cows bred to calve in March was 98.96 percent while cows bred to calve in May was 98.23 percent.

The Hamanns said they have no problems with conception either. It helps, they said, that their pastures provide ample standing and running water where the cattle can cool off.

Predator control is another advantage to late calving. Coyotes are less of a problem later in the season, too, Herb Hamann pointed out. By the time the calves are born, pocket gophers are running rampant in the pastures, and the coyotes are well fed with an easy snack.

The Hamanns have been calving in May for about 10 years. One complaint Herb Hamann has is that its difficult to find help when they’re ready to work cattle and vaccinate the calves.

They try to find a day in July when it’s not too hot to stress the cattle. But at that time, the help is more interested in haying and taking advantage of the summer day for farming work or fun. read more…

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Invest in patience and you will get best cow for less


One of the most common questions I get from dairy farmers is, “How can I have high quality dairy cattle without paying the high prices for pedigree cows?”

This question arises from the desire of farmers to have high milk producing cattle but they are frustrated by the high purchase prices for such cattle.

The question has been very frequent in the last one month. I hope by making a full article response to the question, even those who have not yet asked the question will benefit.

I will use the Friesian cow breed as my reference in this article because it is the most common dairy cow breed in Kenya.

The Friesian, also called Holstein, is the highest milk producing dairy cattle breed. Often people confuse Friesian and Holstein as two different breeds. They are one and the same.

The term Friesian is mainly used in the United Kingdom while Holstein is used in the United States of America. The cattle originated from North Holland and Friesland Provinces of The Netherlands and spread widely globally due to their superior milk production. read more…

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