Management over Medication: Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Livestock Herd on Your Small Livestock Farm

February 27, 2024

This presentation will discuss significant educational tips and tricks for sheep, goats, swine, dairy, and beef cattle herds. Each species will be addressed individually, and some management ideas will be given on keeping your animals healthy on your farm and decreasing the use of medication and vet calls to your farm.

The 2024 MI Ag Ideas to Grow With conference was held virtually, February 19-March 1, 2024. This two-week program encompasses many aspects of the agricultural industry and offers a full array of educational sessions for farmers and homeowners interested in food production and other agricultural endeavors. While there is no cost to participate, attendees must register to receive the necessary zoom links. Registrants can attend as many sessions as they would like and are also able to jump around between tracks. RUP and CCA credits will be offered for several of the sessions. More information can be found at:

Video Transcript

Good evening everyone. Welcome to the Michigan Ag Ideas to Grow with Virtual Conference. My name is Katie Ockert, and I'm an extension educator in the Community Food and Environment Institute based on campus. It's my pleasure to welcome you to tonight's session. Management over medication tips for maintaining a healthy livestock herd on your small farm with Casey Zangaro, who is an MSU extension pork educator based out of Gratiot County. With that Casey, I'll turn it over to you. All right. Thank you, Katie. Like Katie said, my name is Casey Zangaro. I'm the swine extension educator out of Gratiot County, but I cover all of Michigan. The quick agenda for today, we're going to go through all livestock species. I have about five tips and tricks for most of the livestock that you see here, including horses and poultry, which I know some people don't consider livestock, but at the end of the day they really are. Then I'm going to go over some general tips for all species. Some things that I have repeated a few times no matter what species talk about. And then at the end, I will show you guys who helped me out with this presentation because like I said, I do swine. And so I wanted to really involve the rest of the MSU extension educators in this topic to make sure that you guys are getting good and reliable information per each species. First, we're going to start off with beef. Having a herd health plan is very essential. Having an established vaccination Dewormer schedule will really increase your health on your beef herd. Then looking at your feed additives and supplements, making sure they're approved and that they're necessary, especially nowadays. It's really important to understand what your animals need based off your feed and your conditions that they're in, And to not feed them anything that they don't necessarily need. At the end of the day treatment medication plans, make sure you're following the labels and the instructions don't go off label unless you have veterinary approval and then maintain accurate treatment records. Again, USDA slaughter plants are very strict about having animals with no medication in their systems. Knowing when and where your treatments have been throughout your herd is very essential for that. Then having standard operating procedures is also a really good idea. Bring in your vet and maybe your nutritionist or anybody else that you find very knowledgeable about your herd in general. To create these that way everything is the same and consistent No matter who's in with your feed lot. Then use intramuscular and subcutaneous shots in the neck region. This is through the BQA requirements. BQA is a really good resource to go through and look at herd health management plans for beef as well. Another big thing is separating or including pathogen exposure from your herds. That main thing would be like wildlife exposure. So your rats, your birds, all that stuff can cause detrimental herd health no matter how great your fee plan is. If there is rats or birds defecating, then you beef are probably not going to succeed with that. Quarantine new animals for at least 21 days before you integrate them into your primary herd. And then make sure you isolate sick animals as soon as you see them to prevent the spread and transmission of diseases. Along with that, make sure you're treating your sick animals as your last animal contact of the day, you don't want to treat your sick and then go straight into your healthy herd. Other things to look for is to maintain a clean environment. Clean up your feet, spills. That goes back to pest management control. Keep your manure and proper storage that will help with the flies as well and with disease pathogens that they can pick up through manure. Keep ads out, get them out quickly. That way they again, don't get predators in with them. And then have pest and rot and control rat traps, All that fun stuff just around to keep your environment clean and sanitary. Again, your optimal growing conditions are there for your beef. Make a biosecurity plan for your farm. Take into consideration all disease vectors. Where can pathogens come in from? Is it? Do you have a lot more bird flight or rodents? Do you have people driving in and out of your driveway? That shouldn't be stuff like that. Just the things to think about right here. One of these pictures you see here has a gate across there and says, please do not go across this area. I always recommend that to my producers that have a more visible roadway or driveway and then create a management plan to prevent and treat. Biosecurity plan also involves treating and keep maintaining your herd held through your way of keeping biosecurity up. Changing your shoes after you've been somewhere else that had livestock, or if you've been to the hay auction or the beef auction, clean off your shoes, change your flows. Stuff like that is simple, but it's very effective. Moving on, we're going to go into dairy. Keep your eye on your cow's cholesterol. The three cues for your cholesterol are quantity, quality quickly. You want the quantity and quality high, then you want the cholesterm to come out quickly. If not, I would really consider consulting with your vet for some of the stuff. Another big thing for dairy is water. You really need that for your developmental and your health, especially on these hot days. They're very big, big animals and they need all the water consumption that they can, because a dehydrated animal is not going to give you quality milk. Create and maintain a proper vaccination schedule. This could include your newborns, your wean calves, your heifers, your adult cattle and bulls, if you have them. Vaccinations are essential for keeping them healthy and disease free. Not just in one animal, but all of your herds. You're rotating past your herds. Everything then having regular screening of your milk quality, testing, your somatic cell counts. Anything below 1,000 100,000 cell counts should be uninfected cattle. Anything above that, I would get a vet out quickly. Then your energy correct milk levels. Make sure you're adapting that for 3.5 for crude protein and 3.2 for your at no foot. No cow dairy in particular are very hard on their feet because they're usually on concrete a lot. If they can't move, they're not going to be healthy and they're not going to be able to perform at the level that they should cleaneness is a big, big thing with dairy cattle, especially all animals in general. But having a proper and maintained foot schedule, trimming whatever needs to happen is very essential for having a good healthy her. Moving into swine, provide adequate feed and water. Understand that swine, as opposed to dairy and beef, grow a lot faster and quicker. Their nutrition requirements change much quicker than the other two species that we've previously talked about. Protein, specifically on the mino acid level is very, very important for swine. You really need to look at your limitingominoacid, specifically cine and methionine. For swine, you should at least have 12% crude protein. I would not exceed 20% That's for your farrowing and your gestation. S. Again, feed supplementation only when needed. It's not necessary. If you're getting a good clean diet and everything is met through your concentrate. Then of course 24, Access to clean water all the time. Again, they are growing rapidly. They need their water. Adequate spacing and pinning should be free of any broken pieces and sturdy enough to contain the pigs when they get bored. Just a note, pigs have the IQ of a kindergartner. And if you've seen a Kindergartner get bored, they start trying to find things to destroy. Pigs are the same, especially when you have more than a couple of them there. Usually the pinning, the first thing to go, I would highly recommend double pinning, reinforcing it, checking it before you get new pigs in because the constant wear and tear pigs are very hard on it, then making sure you have adequate space. It should be eight by eight square foot for one pig as it's growing up to 12 by 124, a full grown farrowing out pig. Then for seasonal bedding and shade again, pigs can not sweat making sure they have shade in the summer. And then I recommend straw. When it gets really, really cold out, it holds the heat way better than shaving does, Then trying to keep it dry and flean from manure will also help a lot. Record keeping accurate records of your medications and your treatments and then your ads and animal movements are very essential with pigs because again, you're pushing them in and out a lot quicker than most ruminants are knowing when you gave you treatments. And you have to really, really watch the withdrawal dates on those because I know penicillin 60 days and you have a very strict cutoff on market hogs for that. Right. Vaccination protocols and I have this on here. Minimum vaccines for your growers is usually Serco, Mico, and Eli and Erie breeding is a little bit different because you need that to pass on into the fetus. Then optional and these are mostly for if you plan on moving your herds around and then bringing them back mostly like show animals or four H, I would highly recommend influence on Pers because they can definitely pick that up a lot easier when they go to fairgrounds or show grounds and then come back. Biosecurity. This is huge with pigs, just because they can transmit diseases, specifically to humans. Changing your clothes, watching where you've been. Don't feed food waste. Having a proper pest management control, again with birds, with rats, with bugs if you can. If they're outdoors, you have to watch the ground for proper feed, storage, love feed, or any livestock feed in general. Then making sure your manure storage and dead removal is away from the rest of your herd is very essential. Clean and disinfect your pick space, your trailer, your equipment, everything in between picking up animals and then dropping them off is really big. Then I would highly recommend decreasing your visitors out to those animals just because, again, they can transmit things pretty easily. All right, from there we're going to small ruminants which is sheeps and goats. Again, clean water and adequate feed with your supplementation is going to be a little bit more important with your sheep and goats. Looking more at your salt and minerals, specifically your zinc and copper, making sure those are kept up to the correct levels that they need to be. Making sure you rotate your pastures. Sheep are really big grazers and they will ruin a pasture pretty fast. You need to make sure you're utilizing your pastures and have high quality forage, especially during your pregnancy and flushing electration periods for any of these animals because if they don't have it, you're going to have some issues with the pregnancies. Monitor your herd health status. Again, vaccinations, looking specifically at your clusterdium preference, type C and D parasites internally. They can have roundworms, tapeworms, Coccidia for example, because some of these are hair animals, they can have lice and mites which are considered external power sites. Again, proper hoof care. Again, they are pasture animals. If they cannot move with ease, they're not going to be able to eat. Their well being is just going to be hindered her mentality. Understand that they are flock animals. You can't just move a few and expect the rest of them to be okay with it, just understanding the flow, who needs to follow who and don't separate them unless it's absolutely necessary. Observations and record keeping, production herds and individual looking mostly at your pregnancy performance, your lambing weights. Then you can go back into your pasture rotations and medical treatments Ds, and then feed supplements. All these are very essential for getting optimal use out of your herd for sheeps. And go specifically again the pasture rotation and then understanding the vaccinations and deworming protocols. Moving into horses again are considered livestock. Whether we treat them more as pets or not depends on the person, sometimes the day. But protect your equine investment. Basic health check, understanding your vital signs. Understanding your horse is normal could not necessarily be the standard. For example, I own a horse and he is from the South. Him up here in the winter, I have to watch more closely. Whereas he handles these Michigan Summers absolutely beautifully. That's just something to understand and monitor as you own a horse because usually these are 20 year investments. So you get to know him pretty easily. Body condition scoring, understand how to properly do this either from a veterinarian or even a horse trainer, making sure they also understand how to do it properly. And it's also going to depend on your breed and how fit and what you plan on doing with that horse. Then. Feed forages, the foundation horses diets always have hay and grass in front of them. That is what always need. Horses should always have food in front of them. They are prone to ulcers if they do not. But all that extra supplementation is not necessary if they're getting good quality forage. Mostly alfalfa and second cutting hay and then grass love care. Not no cow, no foot, no horse. Having proper farrier training is essential. I have seen a lot of farriers come in and mess up a horse's foot and it takes months for it to grow back out. This is very important, just as crucial as having the proper T vaccinations. Again, this works well with the vet. Your coral ones are going to be your rabies, your tetanus, your eastern and western encephalitis, and then your West Nile risk based ones because those are going to be mostly modified live or show some outward signs after giving the vaccination would be your proto, your herpes and your strangles. Again, will consult with the vet on which, if any, risk vaccination she gave your horse. Again, it's going to depend on what you plan on doing with it that year. Moving into poultry, a well balanced diet, good and quality food. Don't let them have out of feed events always keep food in front of them, as we would call, snacker usually have meals they eat throughout the day. Adding calcium and mineral rich additives to improve bone quality and eggshell quality is a good idea. Then having again, free and clean access to water at all times. Having clean animal space as you can see in these pictures, which one would you rather be in? Which is also what your animal is also going to choose Clearly, the bottom one is more cleaner and it's going to promote a more healthier animal Well being, Make sure to keep your bedding clean and dry and have enough for space for all the chickens that you own or poultry sanitize and disinfect, often to decrease disease transmission. Since they tend to forge around, they will pick up things on their feet and whatever and bring it back in to their hut or their home. It's important to just wash it out and disinfect it every once in a while to decrease that trans. Biggest one is coccidiosis and avian influenza. Those are really, really bad. They will wipe out your herd and you'll have dead birds everywhere. It's not great. Try to control your environment, your heat, control your rodent and pest control. Chickens don't do great in heat. Try to keep them directly out of sunlight when it gets really, really hot outside. Make sure you remove dead and injured birds and quarantine your birds. Just like we did we mentioned with the beef, 21 days is usually an industry standard for all livestock. Again, treat your sick birds before you go look over your healthy her. All right? And with that, I'm going to go over a few of the general tips that I feel like I've said several times throughout each species. Having a vet on call, we now call it a VCPR, veterinary client patient relationship. This will help with your herd health plan, your vaccinations, your medical treatments, your protocols, just any general questions you have. When an animal doesn't look like it's feeling great, then biosecurity is with livestock, it will just decrease disease transmission. Again, the diseases will be different for each species. But it all comes in the same way through vectors, from people, other animals, then pests or rodents. It could come in through some bad feet as well. Just things as think about and some protocols put in place for that clean and disinfect. I know I said it a lot more with the swine, but every species needs a clean environment to thrive in disinfecting your equipment and your trailer and your pin as much as you can is going to give you a good healthy herd. Overall access to water at all times which it needs to be clean. You don't want to drink out of dirty water, your animals don't either. Then again, appropriate feed, Work with your local female or a nutritionist to understand your basic protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, needs for each species. It does go a long way. At the end of the day, quarantining new animals for 21 days, separating your stick animals as soon as you see them. Treating them with your veterinarians recommendation. Again, treat them as your last thing to do, dealing with livestock that day. Then I would almost recommend taking those clothes off and throwing them into the laundry and taking a shower. That way you are not tempted to go back outside into that herd with those clothes on and you also get cleaned off from having anything that they had on them as well. Keeping records, your medications, your treatments should be essential, especially if you're planning on slaughtering any animals. You have to closely watch those withdrawal dates for each medication that you use. Animal movements, it's a good idea to know when you moved animals, when they came in, when you plan on moving them again, whether that be for show or for slaughter. Removing deads and then disposing of them properly is also a key record. I would suggest doing manure management if you compost, I would highly suggest looking into keeping records of when you turn it and then temperature of that compost as well. And with that, I would like to thank the educators that helped me put this together. Jerad Jaborek from the beef side, Cora Okkema from the dairy side, myself from swine. Tom Guthrie from horse. Mike Metzger from Small Ruminents. Then Katie here helped me with the poultry. I put the office location up on here, but most of them are statewide and also their e mail, if you have any more questions for them.