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10. Management Summary

Summary of good management practices for preventing BRD (Cow-calf and feedlot)

Before shipping calves from the cow-calf operation (or other source of cattle) to the feedlot:

  • Feed a well balanced ration, including correct proportions of vitamins and minerals, and insure that calves are eating from a bunk and drinking water from a trough at least 30 days before shipping
  • Wean calves at least 30 days before shipping
  • Castrate and dehorn calves at least 30 days before shipping
  • Prophylactically treat calves for internal and external parasites at least 14 days before shipping


  • Minimize transportation time from cow-calf operation (or other source of cattle) to feedlot 
  • Make sure shippers provide adequte rest periods for the cattle during shipping with access to water and food
  • Discourage use of hot shot or electric prod, yelling and agressive handling


  • Keep cattle in groups based on their herd of origin
  • Do not introduce new animals into the group if possible
  • Newly arrived cattle should be isolated as much as possible for 2-3 weeks upon arrival

At feedlot:

  • Slowly introduce cattle to high-energy rations and make sure vitamins and minerals are adequat
  • Make sure newly arrived cattle have feed and fresh, clean water close by
  • Don't overcrowd cattle
  • Control dust and mud
  • Make sure facilities are well ventilated



Picture Of Doc "What about vaccinations? I give vaccinations as soon as the calves arrive at the feedlot."

 Picture Of DocUnfortunately, vaccination for BRD upon arrival at the feedlot  is not the best answer. Vaccines do not result in immediate protection. It can take several days, even weeks for the immune system to develop a protective response against BRD pathogens. By the time cattle respond to the vaccine given upon arrival at the feedlot, they typically have already been stressed and thereby put at high risk for developing BRD. Although vaccination at arrival can have some benefit, optimal protection can best be achieved by vaccinating at least 2 weeks before weaning - with a booster at least 2 weeks before shipment to the feedlot.  However, vaccination upon arrival is still a good management procedure if vaccine status is unknown."



Investing in the prevention of BRD is important because much of the animal's productivity has already been lost once the clinical signs of BRD appear.  Preconditioning cattle before their arrival at the feedlot and observing cattle frequently for signs of BRD are management procedures that can help reduce BRD. Additionally, reducing stress during transport, using biosecurity measures to prevent transmission of pathogens, and providing a clean, comfortable environment can all help in reducing stress while in the feedlot. When treatment is necessary, utilizing appropriate protocols regarding which cattle to treat and what therapies to use also aid in the management of BRD.  By implementing these preventive measures, the need for and use of antimicrobial agents
to treat BRD can be limited.



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