Latest articles


Important tips for pulling a calf

Have chains properly positioned; be gentle with the calf puller

Some calves are injured at birth by improper pulling methods, says Cody Creelman, a veterinarian with Veterinary Agri-Health Services (VAHS) in Airdrie, Alta. Most ranchers know when preparing to pull they should use a double half-hitch when placing chains on the calf’s legs. The correct setup should also include one loop mid-cannon and the other […] Read more


Fixing fractures in cattle is doable

Early attention to treatment can often get the critter back on its feet

Accidents happen. Sometimes a cow steps on her calf, breaking its leg, or a limb fractures due to extensive or improper pressure applied during a difficult calving. Veterinarian Eric Laporte, with the Bonnyville Clinic at Bonnyville, northeast of Edmonton, says he doesn’t see as many dystocia-related fractures now as in the past, due to better […] Read more



cow and calf

Hard to beat the value of good colostrum

Calf Management: Watch for blood infections such as septicemia

Calves sometimes develop systemic infection in which bacteria or their toxins get into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. Some types of toxin-forming bacteria (usually gaining entrance to the body via the GI tract, after damaging the gut lining and slipping through it) cause rapid death. The calf goes into shock when internal organs […] Read more


Protecting calves through vaccination

Best to consult with veterinarian on what’s right for your farm

Newborn calves gain temporary (passive) immunity from disease when they ingest colostrum, since this “first milk” contains antibodies. After a few weeks or months this temporary protection diminishes, so calves must build their own immunities. Vaccinating at the proper time can help protect them until weaning age. Vaccinating them too soon, however, may not stimulate […] Read more



Horses in their stable

Horse foot care — keep it simple

Horse Care: Each animal is different, try to maintain a natural lifestyle

No foot, no horse” is the old saying. A horse is only as sound as its feet. Care and management of feet will depend on the individual horse, its conformation and hoof structure, environment (including climate), and use. Whether or not the horse needs to be shod will also hinge on these factors. A shod […] Read more


Watch out for ergot in grains

Another wet growing and harvest season in 2016 is increasing the level of toxins in some feeds

Ergot is a fungus that can grow on certain grasses and grain plants when moisture conditions are just right. Ergot becomes a problem mainly after a wet season, rarely during dry conditions. The fungus replaces seed in the seed head with a dark-brown/black mass and produces toxic alkaloids. One or more of the kernels in […] Read more




Dealing with birthing complications

Congenital abnormalities can impede calving process

Occasionally a difficult calving is caused by abnormality in the fetus. David Steffen, a diagnostic pathologist at the University of Nebraska, says that whenever you’re checking a cow or heifer that’s not making progress in labour, keep in mind the possibility of congenital abnormality. Some congenital defects in the calf may hinder the birth progress […] Read more



Luing cattle – an efficient maternal breed

A newer British breed that performs well on lower-quality forage

Iain Aitken is passionate about his Luing (pronounced ‘Ling’) cattle and their outstanding traits that make cattle-raising easy. He and his wife Rowena have 200 head of this Scottish breed on their farm near Belmont in southwestern Manitoba. “I came to Canada from Scotland in 2000,” says Aitken. “I grew up with Galloways, then my […] Read more


Don’t overuse antibiotics in livestock

Cattle sometimes heal themselves, but get veterinary advice

Ranchers often wonder which antibiotics they should have on hand for calving. They like to be prepared, in case a calf becomes ill, a cow needs treatment after a difficult birth, or develops mastitis or some other infection. Dr. David Smith of Mississippi State University says cattlemen probably need to use fewer antibiotics than they […] Read more