Stress in beef cattle is defined as “a nonspecific response of the body to any demand from the environment.” (Frazer et al.,1975; Selye,1976) Stress on cattle in a stocker operation comes from weaning, shipping, and processing. Stress on incoming cattle adversely affects nutrition, and that nutritional stress will impact them physiologically.
Think about what happens to your appetite when you go thru a prolonged period of stress and fear. You can go off your feed. Your stomach can become very acidic or very alkaline, you can come down with the nervous runs. It is the same way with young calves, stripped off their mothers, crowded into a confined area, jostled around, loaded up on a big alien looking contraption called a cattle truck, hauled to an unfamiliar place with banging steel gates, humans yelling, loud speakers and a host of other sights, sounds and smells totally unfamiliar to them. If I were in that situation the last thing I would care about doing would be going to a lavish buffet.
Low stress handling of calves is as important as anything in getting calves on feed and over the stress of weaning and shipping. It will be money in your pocket to simply think of your cattle as range pets and handle them in such a way.
From a nutritional standpoint, stress causes decreased feed intake, causing decreased number of rumen microbes, which therefore volume loss from digestive tract, and dehydration. The decrease in feed intake results in less energy available for all physiological functions. One of the most important of these functions is the immune system. For the cattle producer the suppression of the immune system will result in more sickness in calves and more retreats.
The nutritional requirements for ruminants are in reality the optimum balance of nitrogen, carbon, water, vitamins and minerals for the microbial population (bacteria, fungi, protozoa) to flourish. For these microscopic middlemen to do the work of converting roughages to energy after depletion of the rumen populations due to stress, the optimal conditions need to be restored in the rumen to facilitate the flourishing and functioning of the rumen microbes.
Texas Range Minerals’ Stocker Receiving is formulated to briskly restore conditions in the rumen to a healthy state. A stressed calf that has lost a large portion of its rumen function does not need a typical mineral package. Until its rumen returns to a healthy pre-stressed condition, it cannot efficiently function. Texas Range Minerals’ goal is to heal up the rumen by providing minerals in simplest ionic form, Vitamins A, D, and E, and a powerful concentrated yeast culture rich in energy metabolites.
Jump starting the rumen with the right minerals and vitamins in the right balance, will increase feed and energy intake, restores electrolyte and water balance at the cellular level, stimulates cattle’s immune systems which allows maximum effectiveness of your vaccination and health program, so ranchers see fewer retreats, increased weight gains, lower death loss and an increased bottom line.
For more from Gerry Cates, please visit: CattleMineral.com