Calm calves respond better to vaccination

By Gary Sliworsky
Ag rep, Emo

According to research, calm calves appear to have a better response to vaccination at weaning than excitable calves.
This better vaccination response means the calmer calves are less likely to develop sickness or die of disease.
Earlier research has shown cattle that speed out of the handling chute eat and gain less, and yield tougher steaks.
U.S. researchers divided six- to seven-month-old spring-born bull calves into two groups: the calmest and the most excitable.
The calves were grouped based upon their “exit velocity,” the speed at which they exit a handling chute, and “pen scores,” where visual observations about the animal’s response to confinement and humans are recorded.
During the 11-week trial, the team analyzed calves’ blood samples for the antibody response specific to clostridial vaccinations.
On the study’s sixth day, both calf groups showed “significant” immune response to the vaccination. But by the sixth week, the calm calves had a 50 percent greater antibody response than the excitable ones.
After the booster shot on the 42 day, the peak immunological response was delayed in the excitable calves compared to the calm ones. As well, the excitable calves’ immune response decreased from day 49 to the end of the study.
The calm calves’ immune response, meanwhile, didn’t significantly decrease after the booster.
At the end of the study, the calm calves had more than a 60 percent advantage in immune response.
In addition to the benefits of increased vaccination response, the calm bull calves out-gained their more excitable counterparts by more than 0.3pounds/day over the length of the study.
• • •
An update on the date for release of Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Applications for 2011-12.
Project proposal applications for the Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program (COFSP) for 2011-12 projects will open on Nov. 15.
Producers should review the Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program’s project eligibility policy and procedures document before submitting their completed 2011 project proposal application form to the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA).

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