Better breathing for a healthy future

Bovine Respiratory health

Respiratory health in beef calves can be influenced by a combination of factors, such as housing, climate and factors influencing the immunity of the calf. To avoid a negative impact on farm profitability, managing respiratory health is very important.

Managing respiratory health requires a systematic approach

Look into management practices from the moment of arrival of the beef calves up to the end of the production cycle. Manage all aspects of herd health.

  • Climate


    Managing the climate correctly is a key to success:

    - Maintain a clean and dry environment
    - Avoid variations in temperature and humidity as much as possible.
    - If big differences between the temperature at day time and at night are expected, shave the calves properly. This reduces the amount of sweating and avoids the calves being wet at the moment the temperature starts going down.
    - Ventilation should be at a level of 6 air changes per hour and air should appear fresh, free of ammonia and free of other smells.
    - Calves should have sufficient space, with an airspace allowance of at least 10 cubical meters of air for a calf of 90 kg.

  • Housing


    Correct housing can improve respiratory health:

    - Separate calves from the dam within 24 hours after birth and house them separately from the cows.
    - In case of group housing, avoid a difference in age of more than 8 weeks within a group.
    - Avoid over-crowding.

  • Avoid stressful situations

    Avoid stressful situations

    Stressful situations result in lower immunity. Avoid stress situations as much as possible:

    - Consider a step down weaning program and avoid sudden changes in the ration as much as possible.
    - Ensure each animal has sufficient space at the feeding fence.
    - Avoid carrying out stressful procedures simultaneously so, for example, do not dehorn calves at the same time they are being weaned.


  • Vaccination


    Consult your vet to ensure calves are properly vaccinated.

What to do if breathing gets difficult?

Several steps can be taken to manage the respiratory health of young calves

Download the protocol
for managing respiratory
health in beef calves


Calves requiring additional support need to be identified early

Calf coughing commonly occurs during predicted periods, for example, immediately upon arrival. Use a product such as Farm-O-San Pulmosure LD. Farm-O-San Pulmosure LD stimulates mucus secretion which helps the beef calf to clear its airways

Once calf coughing starts

If despite all preventative measures calf coughing or a runny nose occur, act upon the first cough. Farm-O-San Pulmosure can offer support. Provide Farm-O-San Pulmosure to all animals in the group. Monitor the group by taking the rectal temperature of each animal to detect calves requiring additional support as early as possible. Contact your veterinarian if calves have a rectal temperature of 39.5oC or above.

Questions about respiratory health?

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