If 2020 has taught us anything, it should be to roll with the punches. Change is the theme of the year, and get ready, because it seems like each time we turn a corner, something new is lurking. Perhaps, as livestock producers, this year will help us understand our animals a little better and the way they feel and respond to the many transitions they experience during their lifecycle. Fall is a time for many changes across the species. Let’s look at those changes, how they impact our livestock and how we can help mitigate the stress brought on by these stressors.
Regardless if you’re getting ready to fall calve, lamb, kid or have sows in the farrowing house, giving birth is a stressful time for a new mother and her offspring. Make sure that new mama has adequate water and nutrition and that her new progeny gets colostrum immediately to get a jump start on its own nutrient needs through its mother’s first milk. Once the newborn is nursing on its own and it and its mother have bonded, be sure the nutrients are readily available for the mother to keep her own strength during lactation and pass those nutrients through to her young through her milk.
If the newborn animals are having a hard time adapting and eating, try Vita Charge® Neonatal, an oral supplement for neonatal beef, dairy, sheep, goats and swine containing fermentation products, B vitamins and antioxidants. Vita Charge Neonatal contains the precision prebiotic Amaferm® that impacts intake, feed digestibility and nutrient absorption to help combat stress and initiate feed intake. The Vita Charge line is a quick-acting line of products formulated for all species to help protect and recover during stressful circumstances.
Weaning is perhaps the most stressful time an animal will encounter. That is why it is imperative to prepare the animals to start eating and drinking on their own and not stress too much looking for their mother as soon as they are separated from one another.
“I wouldn’t wean a set of calves without the Vita Charge® Stress Tubs. There has been a decrease in the amount of stress our calves experience. If you have a set of calves that have been around that tub, their attitude toward weaning is different. Overall, they are more relaxed. We have seen an increase in our production related to weight throughout our entire calf crop. Vita Charge has positively impacted our herd and we won’t go without it,” said Trevor Corboy, of Smokey Hollow Farms, Sardinia, Ohio.
Corboy is the sixth generation to raise livestock and crops on his family’s southern Ohio registered Angus operation. Keeping his cattle low-stressed, healthy and gaining is important as they make the transition at weaning because the more pounds they can put onto their healthy calves, the better off they are.
Our New and Improved Vita Charge Stress Tubs are cooked tubs for beef cattle that support digestive health and promote feed and water intake during times of stress and recovery. They now include a heat tolerant probiotic to work synergistically with Amaferm to replenish and stimulate gut bacteria. Like all Vita Charge products, the New and Improved Stress Tub contains Amaferm to combat stress resulting in increased intake and nutrient digestion, as well as MOS to trap bad bacteria, limiting their ability to do harm. The tubs also include organic Zinc, the antioxidant Vitamin E and B vitamins, conveniently allowing beef cattle to get their daily dose of Vita Charge without additional handling.
If you are weaning smaller ruminants or hogs, you might want to consider an alternative Vita Charge product to help jump start your animals’ digestive system and get them eating and drinking. Consider the Vita Charge Liquid Boost® or Vita Charge Gel, both with the Amaferm advantage to help promote feed and water intake, and both with MOS to expel the bad bugs.
“When we see signs of stress or sickness, we give them Liquid Boost to get their gut and rumen working better. I had two lambs that struggled earlier this year after weaning. They would come up and drink their Liquid Boost out of the drench gun. They like it; it has a good flavor,” said Greg Beatty, owner of Beatty Club Lambs in Indiana, Pennsylvania.
Vita Charge Hydraboost™ is designed specifically for weaned pigs as a nutrient-rich liquid supplement that increases water and feed intake and maintains gut immunity, increasing overall health and rapidly restoring digestive balance.
Fall is a busy time for transporting livestock, and every time you load, unload and move livestock, you generally cause stress. You might be getting in a semi-load of calves to background, taking a lamb or goat to a state fair or fall show or getting in your next show pig prospect for those winter shows. Any time you bring a new animal or group of animals home, and especially when you comingle it with others, you risk stress that can cause unnecessary sickness.
Spencer Nero, an Oklahoma cattle producer, backgrounds several loads of light weight, high-risk calves each year. He gives these 130- to 400-pound calves Vita Charge® Cattle Drench as soon as they unload from the trailer onto his place. Vita Charge Cattle Drench, with the Amaferm advantage, promotes feed and water intake, digestibility and nutrient absorption to help combat stress and support the animal’s own immune system.
Prior to starting his calves on the Vita Charge Cattle Drench, Nero said that he would give them multiple shots as they were unloading from the truck, adding to the stress of travel, acclimating to a new environment and likely having just been weaned before loading in the semi and traveling hundreds of miles to Nero Cattle Company.
“My whole protocol has changed because of that Drench. I used to give a lot of antibiotics, fill them up with shots, but once I started using Drench, I’ve eliminated every shot I give them. Now, I give them the Drench and I worm them. That’s pretty much it for the first week until the they are eating good and drinking good. Then we’ll come back and work them. That way we don’t stress them out internally and externally. If we have them feeling better on the inside, they won’t stress out so much on the outside. Reducing the stress factor is the biggest thing I’ve done, thanks to the Drench,” Nero said.
Although the Drench is designed for treating large groups of cattle, another product that works well for individuals or smaller animals is the Vita Charge Gel. The quick-response Vita Charge Gel is available in two sizes and works across species to get the animal’s digestive system working during times of transition and stress.
“If I can utilize the animal’s immune system to its maximum potential because I have every other wheel on the track, that’s how I prefer to practice veterinary medicine. I like to stay on the proactive side of problem solving. I like the Vita Charge line for this reason. I can utilize this product in its multiple forms to get an animal or a pen of animals back on track. I don’t leave home without a tube of Vita Charge Gel in my truck. If I’m treating individual animals, we get better results if I can get their gut back on track sooner,” said Tera Rooney Barnhardt, DVM, who works in feedlots and dairies in Western Kansas.
Change isn’t easy. If you think change can stress a human out, think about the stress multiple transitions can cause your livestock. From birth to weaning, sale time, hauling and showing, these transitions can cause stress that deters food and water intake. But you can help prevent stress and promote a healthy digestive system with proper intake with the Vita Charge products.