Calf Marking and Cattle Health Workshop

This workshop was an opportunity for a group of small farmers to learn and practice routine animal husbandry procedures for cows and calves. ‘Marking’ refers to a set of husbandry practices for calves that includes vaccination, ear tagging, castration, dehorning and mothering up.

See the MLA’s A Guide to Best Practice Husbandry in Beef Cattle for information on calf marking.

Discussions from the workshop are outlined below.

  • Vaccinations are given subcutaneously – just under the skin. The best place to give the injection is on the side of the calf’s neck (see fact sheet on vaccinations below for a diagram). The 5-in-1 vaccination covers five clostridial diseases, namely pulpy kidney (enterotoxaemia), black disease, tetanus, blackleg, and malignant oedema. 7-in-1 covers the same diseases as 5-in-1 plus Leptospira harjo and Leptospira Pomona. Using 7-in-1 is recommended if you are keeping the stock for breeding. Keep vaccines cool in an esky while you are marking. Hygiene is important – keep the needles and injection site on the animal clean. To be effective these vaccines require an initial dose, a booster 4-6 weeks later and an annual booster.

Future Beef Knowledge Centre information on vaccinations for beef cattle

  • Zoonosis refers to a disease or infection that can transfer from animals to humans – examples include Q Fever and Leptospirosis. People who work with animals should be vaccinated against Q-fever and understand how to minimise the risks of contracting these diseases.
  • Castrate calves as young as possible (around two weeks of age), not more than 3 months or younger than 24 hours. The rubber ring method is the easiest and safest method for small farmers to use on young calves. Using analgesia (pain relief) such as local anaesthetic and/or anti-inflammatory drugs could be beneficial to reduce pain and swelling at the castration site, and improve welfare. There is a 90 day withholding period for some medications given to calves.
  • If you have any concerns about the condition of stock in your area you can contact the NSW Stock Squad or RSPCA. It is not anonymous but it is strictly confidential and protected in accordance with the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act.

NSW Stock Squad Cooma 02 6452 0099

RSPCA 1300 CRUELTY or online

Additional resources from workshop

Presentation from Dr Lou Baskind – District Veterinarian South East Local Land Services

Prime Fact – Cattle Producers Biosecurity Duty

Spotted anything unusual?

Call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline 1800 675 888

Do not be afraid to contact or report to your District Veterinarian. District veterinarians can help with diagnostic investigations of unexplained deaths or herd syndromes and there are often funding arrangements in place. Some specific signs to report if noted in cattle: sudden or unexpected deaths, red or brown urine, cattle ticks, chronic wasting conditions, lumps along the neck, cysts in meat, or abortions/vaginal discharge.

Other cattle disease information

Tick Fever

Bovine cysticercosis

Enzootic bovin leucosis

Bovine Johnes Disease

Parasitic diseases

Contacting South East Local Land Services

Email enquiry.southeast@lls.nsw.gov.au

Braidwood 02 4842 2594
Goulburn 02 4824 1900
Yass 02 6118 7700

Other workshop summaries for cattle

Cattle Husbandry for introductory information on cattle husbandry and links to the National Livestock Information Scheme (NLIS) and National Vendor Declarations (NVDs) which must be used when buying, selling and moving cattle.

This workshop was funded by the Australian Government and supported by South East Local Land Services. Thanks Dr Lou Baskind from South East Local Land Services for her contribution to this summary.