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Calf and Yearling Check-up Time: Here’s What to Consider

Checking up on your calves and yearlings gives you an opportunity to monitor body condition, animal health and feeding levels. It’s also a good chance to conduct health maintenance programs. Now is the perfect time to check in on your spring calves and yearlings.

Animal health: what to look out for

Bringing your calves or yearlings into the yards gives you a good opportunity to check in on their general health and condition, while also keeping an eye out for specific health issues.

So, what should you be on the look-out for?

Firstly, estimate body condition for each animal. If you come across one with poor body condition, draft them into a separate herd so that they can receive a customised feeding plan designed to build their body condition. Consider if any other issues may be contributing to their poor body condition score and address these at the same time.

Other things to look out for are bare skin patches, lameness/swollen legs, open wounds, ear infections (possibly from tagging), and pink eye. Treat these immediately if possible - or follow up with treatment as soon as possible afterwards.

Regular calf and yearling health maintenance

In addition to monitoring your stock for health issues, there are also a number of routine treatments and checks you can do at this time to keep your animals in top health.

Think about whether you need to do any of the following tasks.

Deworm stock

Routinely deworming your youngstock helps to maximise their growth. It also gives them the best start in life, impacting future milk production and fertility.

Choose between an oral drench, a pour-on or an injectable depending on your herd requirements.

Do worm counts

If you have reason to suspect a worm infestation in your youngstock – or like to do routine checks – this is a good time to take worm count samples.

Take random samples from a good cross-section of your herd, including animals of various body condition scores. This usually involves taking two or three small grabs from each dung pat but read and follow the directions on your chosen test kit for best results.


Some vaccinations that may be scheduled for this time include pink eye and a 7-in-1 booster shot.

Vitamin and mineral supplements

Boost animal health with a vitamin and mineral supplement. Depending on your herd requirements, you can choose between B12 + Selenium OR B12 + Multimin.

Offer youngstock that look unwell or in poor condition a dose of BioBoost High Performance Probiotic Paste. This is the ultimate booster in times of illness, stress or weaning, promoting immunity, recovery and gastrointestinal health. Order it here.

Check tags

Make sure all tags are still securely in place and replace any lost or broken ones.

Weigh calves/yearlings

Weigh your herd. Once you have the results, analyse these against industry standards for the breed. If you have not done so already, draft all lightweight stock into a separate herd. Plan to feed this herd for growth and monitor them more closely.

Re-weigh your herd in a month or two, following the same procedure.

If you’ll soon be sending youngstock to adjustment, only send those that are at or above their target weight. Visit them periodically to check on growth and health.

Preg test yearlings

In addition to the above, you might choose to preg test your yearlings at the same time.

Checking on your calves and yearlings periodically is vitally important to their health and wellbeing. Check ups give you an opportunity to see how your stock are doing – and they can be an excellent team activity, helping everyone stay up to date with how the stock are growing and progressing.

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