by Ned Stoller Ned Stoller

Fall is here.  Temperatures have fallen (although the leaves are still here)  Thoughts of fall projects are beginning to fill your mind.  This begins a series of posts on fall type projects.  The first of these is for anyone who has beef cattle.

Typically, late September is the time when you think about fall round up.  Those calves are ready to be separated from their moms, and it is time. Dehorning, vaccinating, castrating, deworming and preg checking are usually on the list of tasks that need to get done.  Some of you call your local vet to get a lot of this done – especially the preg checking.  Usually you are at the other end catching the cows or calves and doing the rest!  Make sure you have a good chute – often your veterinarian will have one.

A word about vaccinating:  multi dose syringes are great – as long as handled properly.   Make sure you wash out the syringe and line with warm soapy water and rinse well before and after using.  If it is going to be a hot day, keep a cooler on hand to keep vaccines at a cool temp.    Keep a good stock of needles on hand – the best size is usually 16-18 gauge 1″ to 1 ½”.

Change needles frequently – at least every few animals is best.  (Long gone are the days when some guys would keep their one needle sharp by rubbing it against the side of the head chute!)  Consult your local vet for the best vaccines to use – location is so dependent on what you need, although a good 8 way is the  minimum.

The use of a multi dose automatic syringe can be particularly useful if you are limited in function and do most or all of your work with one hand.  First of all, remember safety – keep your hand in a safe place to prevent injury if that cow or calf doesn’t like that shot!  Get the needle under the skin, (at least for subcutaneous vaccines, which most are nowadays) usually just forward of the shoulder blade.  This is best accomplished by holding the syringe at around a 30 degree angle.

Deworming?  Fortunately nowadays the options for applying a dewormer are as easy as pouring it down their back!  If you have a few or a lot of cattle to treat, there are delivery options based on the number.  There are small bottles that can automatically measure the dose before you pour, or there are pistol delivery systems that can treat over a dozen cattle before refilling is required.  Again, if you are limited in function, these can be done with one hand.  If you opt for a oral dewormer, then multi dose drenchers are available as well.

There are definitely plenty of options to help you finish fall round up even if you are disabled in some form or another.