Wee Mak and cattle health testingRSS feed

Posted: Tuesday 25 November, 2014

by Rosemary Champion at 10:17am in Cattle 3 comments Comments closed

Wee Mak, the bull, is safely home. Why Wee Mak? Middle letters of his name "Kingmaker" and he's wee. At some point, he'll be Big Mak and then even later, "Big Mac".

He travelled well and has settled fine; he's naturally nervous as he's been running 1000ft up in the Peak District with the herd and little human contact. However, a morning bribe of soaked sugar beet with some calf nuts on top is helping him to settle down. He'll now accept a good scratch on his neck and shoulders. TBH, he'll be lonely and he likes the company, even if it's only a human.

We've decided to keep him in until his post-movement TB test, which can be done 60-120 days after movement, so around 21st January. After doing a bit of reading and having a discussion with our vet, we've decided to test him for Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) and Leptospirosis.These, along with BVD (for which he's already been tested) and Johne's make up the "big four" diseases of cattle. At ten months, he'll be too young to test for Johne's.

Since the vet will be here anyway and the cows will be in, I'm going to have the four in-calf cows tested for IBR, Lepto and Johne's and the two heifer calves tested for IBR and Lepto, along with their compulsory (in Scotland) BVD test (they're too young to test for Johne's).

This will give me a picture of our current herd health then if there are any issues, I can look, with the vet, at management and / or eradication. I am fervently hoping that we're OK - our two original cows are island bred, where there's a high health scheme in place. But they have had contact with untested animals in the intervening years.

We won't be going for official accreditation, with the programme of regular testing but we will be trying to put in place suitable biosecurity measures. We don't export cattle and we don't sell many (actually not any yet) so there's no financial benefit in the testing - it's simply to ensure our cattle are ashealthy as we can make them. And when we do come to sell them, we can do so knowing that we won't be causing any disease issues in someone else's herd.

The various blood tests are about £3-5 each, so about £12 per beast plus the cost of the vet, but he's coming anyway to test the bull. Oh, and we're having Mak nose-ringed; not looking forward to that but I think safety must come first :-)




Tuesday 25 November, 2014 at 11:38am

I applaud you for taking the health risks so seriously, especially when (necessarily) bringing a beast in from a different area.

Louise Gaunt

Tuesday 25 November, 2014 at 12:05pm

I agree with Sally, you are doing all you can to ensure a healthy herd, and I am sure Wee Mak will have a lovely life with you and his new girls!


Tuesday 25 November, 2014 at 7:49pm

I do think that all cattle keepers, indeed all livestock keepers, have a responsibility not only to their own livestock but also to the wider livestock herd to maintain health. Hope that disnae sound too "Holy Wullie" :-)

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