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Health Care

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Trace Elements in Calves

It's well known that a newborn calf is the most susceptible animal to disease on the farm. Trace elements give them the best chance of fighting off the challenges they face in their first weeks.

MULTIMIN® is an injectable source of zinc, copper, selenium and manganese. It safely and rapidly boosts the levels of these trace elements in cattle and deer, and is best administered prior to high demand periods.


Should newborn calves be supplemented with trace elements?

Most farmers do their best to make sure the herd has been supplemented before calving and assume this will pass on to the calf. However, the cow's own high requirements and variable intake of colostrum can mean calves enter the calf shed with less trace elements than expected, at exactly the time they need them most for growth and immunity. A severe deficiency will reduce weight gains, but even a minor shortfall will result in reduced immunity. 

My stock receive trace element supplementation via feed, water and/or boluses, and blood tests have shown normal levels. Why would I treat them with MULTIMIN® as well?

MULTIMIN® is a complement to oral supplementation, rather than a replacement for it. Oral supplementation can be very effective for maintenance, but when demand increases animals often have decreased appetite, resulting in less feed intake which means reduced trace element intake. Injecting at high demand periods means the effects of reduced oral intakes are minimised. Think of oral supplementation as the way to get trace elements for normal activities, and MULTIMIN® as the intervention for higher intensity activities.

Is injecting new-born calves safe?

The concept of injecting new-born calves was new to the farms involved in the 2018 trial, where farmers injected calves on the first day they arrived in the shed, which easily fitted into their daily routine. In this trial, almost 1,000 calves were treated, with no adverse events reported, indicating that it is a safe method of enhancing the immunity of calves in early life. In fact, the increase in survival rates means calves are actually safer if they are injected than not.

As a result of this trial, there are a significant number of farms on which this is now common practise, with a number of calf rearers across the country also adopting it as routine. To minimise any risk we recommend dosing at 1 ml/50 kg as closely as possible to the weight of the calf. In the study we used a set dose of 0.75 ml/calf, based on an assumed weight of 35-40 kg for newborn crossbred heifer calves. This can be adjusted up or down for larger or smaller breeds.

I don't usually have many scouring calves. Why should I supplement with MULTIMIN®?

Local research showed that disease and death rates in calves were halved, even from a low base after being injected with MULTIMIN®. The effect was consistent across scours, navel ill and sick calves without a specific diagnosis. So there will almost certainly be some effect, even if your level of disease is already low.

How do I use MULTIMIN®?

MULTIMIN® should be administered by subcutaneous injection only, at the below dosage recommendations. No milk or meat withholding periods are required when used as directed.

  • Calves (up to 1 year): 1 ml/50 kg.

 

To learn more about MULTIMIN® visit performanceready.co.nz or ask your vet. 

 

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