I always sort of look forward to getting Christmas and new year out of the way.
Get another few weeks under your belt and you're out of January and starting to look forward to the spring, longer days and better weather.
Unfortunately, at the minute due to incessant rain, waterlogged fields and fast-filling slurry tanks, coupled with the odd case of scour and a slight touch of pneumonia (that’s the calves by the way and not me), it’s hard to be full of the joys of spring just yet.
All cows are now calved, which is thankfully one less thing to keep an eye on - 12 weeks from start to finish - not too bad even if I do say so myself.
Calving went fairly well, we did have an odd loss along the way, but nothing major. However, I am now kicking myself slightly, for the past number of years I have been vaccinating calves at around nine days of age for pneumonia, Rispoval up the nose.
I never had any major issues with pneumonia, but would have had problems with calves coughing when they were a couple of months old, as well as some snotty noses and high temperatures.
When I started with the vaccine, all that seemed to stop. Don’t ask me why, but this year I decided not to do it, I suppose because I had no bother for the past few years, I thought I didn’t need to, but, unfortunately, I’m back to the coughing and the odd high temperature again.
I'm running around armed with the thermometer and a bottle of Alamycin 300, trying to keep a close eye on things. It just brings home to me the value of a good vaccination programme and the false economy in not doing it.
I’m definitely spending a lot of time watching calves
Hopefully I won’t spend much on drugs, but I’m definitely spending a lot of time watching calves and taking their temperature, which again is a cost.
All cows received a fluke drench over the weekend. This would be later than normal - traditionally my cows would get treated for fluke either on the second day of the herd test, which would be early December, or some day between Christmas and the new year.
Treating them at the same time as the herd test puts a bit of pressure on, as you don’t want to be holding up the vet, so I haven’t done it this way for a few years.
And I don’t know if it’s old age or what, but I just didn’t feel like doing it over the Christmas holidays and I didn’t hear anyone else in the house complaining about that.
So now I find myself in mid-January - the advantage of this is, cows have been housed more than 12 weeks, so only need to be treated for adult fluke.
These products tend to be cheaper and have a shorter withdrawal than products that cover all stages of fluke.
You also have the benefit of being able to include a wormer in the one product if you so wish.
As my cows generally wouldn’t receive a worm dose, I decided I would cover them for worms as well and used a 10% Albendazole product.