Newsletter February 2014

Ding dong the church bells chime!

Practice news this month is the engagement over Christmas of Emma Sunderland to David Hatton, and also of Hugo Bower to Gemma Morris. Emma and David have set a date to get married in November, whilst Hugo and Gemma have yet to decide when the big day will be. Congratulations to both couples.

Calf Pneumonia Meeting

We are planning to hold a meeting for all farmers interested in calf pneumonia. It will be in the Victory Hall, Broughton on Tuesday 11th March 2014 at 7.00pm. We will be having Dan Griffiths from Zoetis to discuss what can be done to try and reduce problems. We will also give updates on the TB and fluke situation. Please ring the office to book your place if you want to attend.

We have completed the TB testing in the radial zones with another 3 animals being slaughtered, and culture results still pending on 1 animal. We are receiving allocations for the 6 month tests – with over 10,500 animals tested in the autumn, and approximately the same number to test again now, we are relying on your help to assist with getting the work done. Please contact us as soon as you decide when you want your test doing and we will endeavour to fit it in. There may be occasions when it may not be possible but we aim to ensure any premovement testing will be done to allow you to move or sell cattle when required, as long as you give us enough notice. Remember we will still need to have enough vets available to cover the usual spring rush.


Fertility: Dairy cow fertility continues to be a challenging area. Poor expression of oestrus behaviour makes detection of heat difficult. Tail paint, heat detectors on tail head, electronic activity monitors as collars or pedometers, frequent and close observation of behaviour throughout the day and evening all need to be employed to get detection rates above 60%!! The best detector is a bull! Not only will a bull find the cows which are in heat but his conception rate will be much higher than AI. The bull pen should be sited where cows in heat can come to see him throughout the day.

The alternative method is to split the herd into two groups. Use AI for 2 serves, sexed semen on your best cows to get your heifer replacements and run the bull with the remainder. A new test is now on the market to measure milk progesterone. This can be used to confirm if a cow is bulling or if she is geld. Using it 22 days after service is very useful as an early indicator of non pregnancy. Also if you have served a cow 2 or 3 weeks previously and you are suspicious she is bulling this test will tell you to serve or not. Many cows are served in error thus causing them to lose the embryo!! The test costs less than £3 so is well worth using. Call us to find out more details.
Beef cow fertility is a whole different issue—more details next time!

Calving and lambing time

Calving and lambing time is fast approaching — are you ready? Don’t forget the usual lambing kit. What were your main problems last year and what steps have you taken to prevent the same this year? We are happy to provide advice and help in reducing your losses. In general making sure the new arrival is born in a clean dry pen and receives an adequate supply of good quality colostrum will ensure it stands the best chance of survival. Performing a quick post mortem examination on any calves or lambs that die is a useful exercise. It will allow us to determine cause of death and decide what changes need to be made to reduce losses. This is particularly useful when the number of deaths start to increase and you wish you knew what was going on. Keeping a record of losses is also useful—are they born dead, what age do they die, cause of death etc.

Louping ill vaccine is currently available for those who need it.

Huskvac orders can now be taken—still the best way to control lungworm in your adult cows. Calves need 2 doses 4 weeks apart. The first dose can be given from 8 weeks of age.