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Posted: 01/18/2023
Livestock trailer

Make Transport Easier on Your Calves

When we think of transportation protocols for cattle, we often focus on the factors around the animal like crammed trailers, climate, possible pathogen exposure, receiving practices and handling. It’s easy to forget about the animal’s internal health. However, the stress of a new environment can lead to decreased feed intake and weight gain, not to mention the fact that the animals can simply be away from water for extended periods of time on the road. The bottom line: the transported animal’s digestive tract cannot be ignored. For calves, planning digestive support before, during and after transport is even more critical in order to set the animal up for long-term success (and to give you maximum productivity). PBS Animal Health offers an excellent option to cover all the bases for your calves: the TechMix Transported Calf Protocol.

Small dairy calf outside on a sunny day

Why Do Calves Need Support During Transport?

It’s more and more common for calves to be transported long distances to be raised in climates that are more forgiving, or in systems that are more focused on just the calves. While it makes sense to move them, the move itself can cause problems for the animals.

First, young calves don’t cope as well with transport as their adult herdmates do. Physiological stress from loading and unloading, such as higher heart rates and decreased immune system responses can occur. Plus, depending on how young the calves are, they simply might not be developed enough for basic herding behavior, and may require time to sleep (forget standing in large trailers).

Time away from feed and water also can significantly affect calf health with lost nutrients – and especially lost body water. This phenomenon, which TechMix refers to as “shrink,” can be prevented. In fact, ensuring hydration and maintaining gut integrity before and after transport will help the calf thrive in any environment.

Other Management Changes that Impact Immunity

Like transport, there are other management changes that impact calves’ immunity:

  • Pen moves
  • Vaccination
  • Heat stress
  • Cold stress
In these situations, there are proactive ways to support the animal so it can better adapt to change. Just like TechMix created protocols to support a scouring calf and a newborn/weak calf, they also science-designed products for the transported calf that work to support immunity during these additional management changes.

Transported Calf Protocol from TechMix

The Transported Calf Protocol is one in the series of four supplementation protocols from TechMix that are each designed to meet specific health challenges for calves. This protocol ensures hydration for calves during a time that they’re away from feed and water (which can hinder their health significantly). Additionally, maintaining gut integrity will help them thrive before, during and after transport.

BlueLite C
STEP 1: Rehydration and promotion of gut restoration.

BlueLite C is a palatable electrolyte that gives the calf multiple energy sources. It combats metabolic, hydration and digestive challenges that occur as calves are often deprived of water and/or nutrients during transport.

As a Step 1 alternative, Liquid BlueLite C offers the same advantages as the powder BlueLite technology mentioned above, just in a convenient liquid form. TechMix says this format also offers stability in humid climates.

Protocol Use: Prior to transport, mix 4 oz of BlueLite C powder OR Liquid BlueLite C into 2 quarts of milk, milk replacer or water. Upon arrival, mix 2 oz with warm water prior to milk feeding. Repeat 12-24 hours after arrival.

Calf PreRD
STEP 2: Daily DFMs for improved gut integrity.

Calf PreRD is more than just a probiotic – it’s beneficial bacteria, live yeast, moss and vitamins to keep the immune system strong. The supplement is specifically designed to establish dry feed intake and help calves be more viable after they move to a group pen.

Protocol Use: Starting two days prior to transport, feed 4 grams per calf per day in milk, milk replacer or water. Continue for seven days after arrival.

Transport Calves Confidently with TechMix

If your calves are going places, keep them hydrated and healthy with the TechMix Transported Calf Protocol. This and the other three protocols will keep your calves in top shape and lay a strong foundation for their future growth. Learn more about TechMix products today to see how they can support your herd.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this article, and all other articles by pbsanimalhealth is for informational purposes only. This article may have been prepared from multiple sources at the time it was written and is not intended to be used as a sole source of information in making any purchase or specific product use decision. We recommend you always consult with your attending veterinarian to properly diagnose any health-related condition before initiating any prevention or treatment program. Always read and follow each product’s current label instructions and Warnings before use.

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