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Calves experience one of the more stressful periods of their lives as they are brought to the feed yard. Shipping calves can expose them to a variety of diseases as they are introduced to a new yard, a dirty trailer, or the sale barn. The change in diet from mother’s milk to solid feed or even from creep feed to a feedlot diet, can also lead to stress and setback. This stress causes a variety of issues that the farmer is forced to deal with in a (hopefully) quick and efficient way.

As cattle prices continue to trend high, it’s as important as ever to ensure that each and every one of your cattle finishes well and make it to their next destination. Giving these calves a strong start begins with their starter feed. Palatability is one of the most important factors in a starter feed. If a calf does not like the taste or texture of a feed, it will take that much longer to get them back to the bunk and eating.

Starter feeds available in a larger pellet form are often preferred by calves, as they are softer than small pellets. This also allows for more consumption in each bite. A good starter feed should not only be palatable and encourage growth but should also strengthen a calf’s immune system, preparing them for the road ahead. The addition of RX3 Immune Support Technology to Purina Precon and Purina Stress Care 5 supplement feeds does just this.

RX3 Immune Support Technology is a combination of prebiotics, probiotics, and plant extracts that primes a calf’s natural defenses to support overall health and aims to reduce costs. Research shows that calves fed Purina starter feeds with RX3 Immune Support technology:

  • Gained 6 pounds more on average than the control group in a 30-day period.
  • Were more uniform due to less poor performers.
  • Had less variation in average daily gain compared to the control.
  • Healthy calves fed RX3 Immune Support Technology gained more weight compared to healthy control calves.
  • Calves fed RX3 recognize an immune challenge up to 2 days sooner than calves without, allowing them to respond to treatment more quickly, recover more quickly, and get back on feed in a shorter amount of time. These calves require nearly 50% less treatments than calves without RX3 according to research.

Another way to ensure that starting calves get on feed quickly is to provide them with Purina Stress Tubs. These tubs provide calves with a modest amount of protein and essential minerals. When utilizing Stress Tubs in a feed yard, two tubs should be placed within 100 yards of a gathering area such as a shade or feed bunk. Calves may be wary of them at first – by placing them in a well-used area calves will familiarize themselves with the tubs more quickly. Purina Stress Tubs should be fed for the first 3-4 weeks that starting calves are on the yard. This is a convenient supplement delivery system which aims to cut down on labor while providing stressed calves with essential minerals that will aid in their health and growth.

Please contact Katia Sytsma or Al Clough if you have any questions about starter rations, want tips about starting cattle, or want to setup an appointment for a beef specialist to visit your yard. Beef cattle nutrition is our passion, and we can’t wait to work with you!

Katia Sytsma: (712) 578-2616

Al Clough: (515) 570-6038