Thoughts from a mobile veterinarian shared as summer turns to fall for cattle ranchers.
As fall arrives, it’s time to start thinking about weaning calves. For most operations that have moved out of the stone-age, weaning usually involves vaccinations. Which inevitably means sorting, and crowding, and squeezing, and possibly kicking (any of which could happen to either the cattle or the handlers). It’s a time when tensions run high and tempers get short. Planning ahead is a great way to ease the pressures brought on by this event, which is usually more stress on the people than the animals.
You’re off to a good start if you make sure you’ve got enough (meaning extra) vaccine, dewormer, ear tags, needles, syringes, coolers, ice packs, refreshments, people, time, and WD-40. But if you want to take your preparation to the next level here are a few tips:
Instead of calling your help ahead of time to make sure you’re on the same page, text them. This way you can save your voice for later when you need to yell at them because the alley is too full… or not fullenough.
Take the extra time you would have spent calling everyone to think up some new obscenities to use while processing. They don’t all have to be four-letter words, ‘90s celebrity names or state capitals can work just as well. Just picture a calf knocking down the new gate you just hung – Bob Saget! Or sticking yourself with the blackleg needle – Salt Lake City! (bonus points for alphabetical order).
And don’t forget to keep your local vet on speed dial for when that last bottle of vaccine doesn’t have those five extra doses you need.
Bruce Figger, DVM is the owner of South Wind Animal Health, LLC, a mobile veterinary service with clients in Stafford and Pratt counties, and the surrounding area.