With the last of the cows housed in the last week, we have finally been able to settle into consistent yard routine. We have things relatively well set up and can get all the stock in the yard fed in a little over an hour and a half.

We have split the cows into two groups based on condition score. None of the cows are below their target condition score but we do have a pen that are in too good a shape and we will have to restrict them for the rest of the month and probably longer. I will be cautious however not to restrict them too close to calving date.


Cows and in-calf heifers have all now received a fluke dose which consisted of either endofluke or Fasinex 240, depending on their calving date. This coming week, we are planning to worm dose and give an IBR vaccine booster to all stock in the yard. We vaccinate every six months using the live vaccine.

I feel that with the herd being still very much open, its prudent to take the belt and braces approach. We will run all the in-calf animals once more through the crush in early January, when they will receive a Rotavec Corona vaccine as well as a lice treatment. We will also take the opportunity to condition score them once more before the start of calving in late January.

Rotavec Corona is a very expensive vaccine working out at over €10 a cow. I did contemplate only vaccinating the late calving cows, but I only had to think back to a scour outbreak we had in the suckler herd a few years ago for that idea to be quickly shot down.

A disease outbreak in the calf shed is an absolute disaster.There is nothing more disheartening for me than walking into the calf shed every morning with your heart in your mouth wondering how many calves are going to be sick that morning. For us, a vaccination programme not only maintains a healthy herd but it also provides me with complete peace of mind.

With Christmas now just a few days to go, we will wind things down and only do the essential work over the festive period. I really enjoy this time of year and try to use it to recharge the batteries and spend as much time with family as possible because come late January and the start of calving, I will have been glad I got as much rest as I could when I had the opportunity.

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