After a long, cold winter we are all grateful for warmer temperatures. This is the start of the busy spring season but before we have cases of “planter-itis” or “manure hauling disease”, check out these tips to recover from winter and plan for upcoming challenges:
- Evaluate Teat Ends: The cold, dry winter temperatures are tough on teat condition. Evaluate teat ends and teat skin condition and adjust teat dips as needed to resolve any issues.
- Deice the Foot Bath: Your footbath misses you. Chip out the remaining ice chunks and get back on a regular foot bath routine. If you missed several months of footbaths this winter, start your program at 5 days a week for 3-4 weeks to get caught up on those heel warts and footrot. Then move to a 3 day per week maintenance plan.
- Watch the Mud: The Month of March=The Month of Mud. While the thaw is welcome, it still creates some issues. Keep calf hutches well-bedded and dry. Calf feeding equipment cleanliness can be a challenge. Also watch how much mud makes it into the TMR when loading feed. More dirt equals more Clostridium challenges (diarrhea, hemorrhagic bowel, etc.)
- Respiratory Health: Spring and fall are prime times for pneumonia issues to flair-up. Double check vaccination compliance and timing. Pulse CTC or other feed/water meds as needed to keep ahead of respiratory issues. Check calves twice a day for signs of pneumonia.
- Clean the Water Tanks: Get back on a once/week cleaning of water tanks. Don’t forget the calf tanks.
- Calf Hutches: Some hutches have not moved in a few months. As calves are weaned, power-wash and disinfect the hutches to give calves a great environment to start their productive life.
- Get Ready for Summer: Think about your sprinkler and fan situation. Now is the time to repair broken equipment or modify the system. The flies are here, soon to wake from a long winter’s nap. If you use feed-through Insect Growth Regulators like Clarifly, start in April. Fly parasites like Kunafin should be in place by early May. Get ahead of the adult flies by controlling the larva/pupa stages in early spring. A female housefly could lay 9,000 eggs in her lifetime. Let’s kill them this year before they hatch!