Housing is particularly critical for youngstock after their first summer at grass. The big risk is pneumonia so the housing programme must minimise the stress the young animal faces as outlined in the following programme:
- Worm up to 5 weeks prior to housing using a long lasting wormer from the avermectin group.
- Consider vaccinating against pneumonia, so animals are fully covered before they are housed if:
- There is a previous history of pneumonia on the farm.
- If they are to be mixed with purchased cattle and/or older stock.
- In large suckler herds where calves have grazed in completely isolated groups over the summer.
- Creep/trough feed starting a minimum of 2 weeks prior to housing.
- Clip their backs at or before housing.
- House on a dry day.
- House in the best ventilated shed. This will have a clean underside to the roof ie no cobwebs etc. If the underside of the roof is not clean improve ventilation eg slotting the roof etc before stock are housed.
- Initially house at as low a stocking rate as possible and bed extremely well to keep the bed/atmosphere as dry as possible.
- For store cattle, particularly those to be grazed at home next summer, initially target liveweight gains up to 1 kg per day but reduce concentrate levels after the turn of the year to ensure animals are not overfat when they are turned out.
Basil Lowman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up to the FAS newsletter
Receive updates on news, events and publications from Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service