Cattle need only minimal shelter. During calving it is nice to have a place where the cow and newborn calf can get out of the elements for a day or two. It is good to have a place where they can find shade in hot weather and wind break from the cold. A corral or dry lot must be available to keep the animals in when irrigating and when the pasture needs a rest from grazing.
Good fences are important to ensure safety and good relation-ships with neighbors. Electric fences are useful for managing your pasture and should be sufficiently strong, high and tight to contain the herd. A four and a half foot fence made of wire is adequate.
Troughs and feeders will be necessary as grazing should not be the only form of diet. It is a good idea to have a round bale feeder, 1 for every 10 cows, and a feed bunk.
When cows are in early lactation it may be desirable to feed them some supplement to help maintain their body condition so they are ready to breed back later in the year.
Provide facilities that adhere to animal welfare as it is legislated in your state. These would include care for the animal such as proper feed, handling facilities, shelter and the removal of any conditions that may inflict stress on your animal.
Importance of A Good Vet Program
Cattle are susceptible to a variety of diseases. With good planning and adequate management, you can avoid most disease problems with the use of common vaccines and pharmaceuticals.
Do your research and consult a veterinarian in your area who is certified in your state and specializes in cattle. Veterinarians can provide a variety of services that benefit beef cow operations.
A herd health program based on your type of operation is imperative. This should include:
- A vaccination program for your cattle that is specific to your geography.
- Worm cattle twice per year in the spring and fall.
- Fly control pro-grams need to start before you see flies, usually in the spring. Your vet can recommend a cattle oiler, ear tags or a good feed product that includes medication to kill larva in the manure.
Remember, healthy herds generally have lower medication costs, less death loss, and are more productive and profitable.