We all know proper nutrition is crucial to raising healthy cattle. What is less clear is how to provide it. Animals’ needs change significantly throughout their lifecycle, as can the nutritional value of feedstuffs. To achieve peak performance, including minimal occurrence of bovine respiratory disease (BRD), producers need to understand the basics and always think a step ahead.
According to data from the National Animal Health Monitoring System, bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is the second leading suspected cause of pre-weaning mortality for U.S. cattle. While the majority of early cases don’t result in the loss of the animal, it is still important to take precautions. At this critical stage, even a mild case of BRD does damage that will limit a calf’s lifetime potential.
Animal performance starts with the cow. Calves born to well-managed cows are primed for success; less healthy ones will never regain their lost potential – including resistance to bovine respiratory disease (BRD). To start calves out right, with proper immune stimulation, focus on following the four P’s: prepare, prevent, protect and preserve.
Cattle are innately masters at hiding sickness. Whenever they think they are being observed, they will perk up and look more alert by keeping their ears up. Cattle will also bunch with a group of animals to mask what we consider to be the clinical signs of illness, particularly bovine respiratory disease (BRD).