Monday, 15 June 2015


A few weeks ago our bull was sick.  I could tell that he was in a lot of pain and discomfort. He was breathing very shallow and making a loud noise with every breath.  He was also weak and could not walk.  Prior to that, a few days before, he was bleeding from his nose.  We actually thought that he had fought with other bulls and didn’t pay much attention, until the rest of the symptoms appeared.  But thanks to the VET, we managed to give him medication.  These were effective. Had a big scare, this would have been a huge lose.

 Recovery feels good...

VET diagnosis! Pneumonia…

Pneumonia is a lung disease that affects cattle, mostly in the eastern and northern parts of the country.  These affects are throughout the year, when several primary and secondary organisms work together to cause damage to the lungs.  It is also known as ‘lung disease’.

There are several factors that cause pneumonia.  But the critical issue is when the animal is not able to fight off the disease.  Factors that affect the ability of an animal to fight the disease are:

Stress reduces the animal’s ability to fight the disease by reducing the production of white blood cells.  The white blood cells aid in fighting infections and diseases.  OKB-12-677 was under stress truthfully speaking.  The animal was confined in an enclosed camp together with other bulls were he was being prepared for the market.  He would jump fences constantly, to attempt to get to the cows so he can mate. Raging testosterone levels.

Dust and cold
The colds and dust suppress the activity of the mucous membranes that help keep harmful organisms out of the mucus tract. This could be a cause.  Winter was approaching and it was getting cold.  And in addition, OKB-12-677 was on a supplementary lick programme to try and get him ready for the market.  According to VET, might be that the licks accumulated dust.  Storage of supplementary feeds is very important.  It is also believed that the great differences between day time temperatures and night time temperatures contributes to weakening the animals potential to fight pneumonia.

Nutritional shortages
Shortages of protein especially can have an effect in suppressing animal’s immune system.

Symptoms of pneumonia are,

Bleeding from nose
When autopsy conducted, accumulation of fluid in chest cavity occurs.

If you have any suspicions, contact your nearest VET.


Tuesday, 9 June 2015


Nutrients change constantly depending on the animal’s state of health, sex, age, breed, level of activity, parasite numbers and of course the environment.  The very basic nutrients are supplied by the environment via extensive grazing.  A seasonal strategy must be developed by farmers in order to ensure that the animals receive optimum nutrition by supplementation.

 Cattle grazing...

  Herd on licks

Protein is necessary for growth.  It is used for building body tissues and cells.  Sources of proteins are licks which are made from raw ingredients that contain proteins like cotton seed, sunflower and fish meal perhaps.  During the rainy months, the grass in the veld is plentiful and green.  Thus, protein levels are high in pastures.  Little to no supplementation is needed. During the winter months, when the veld is dry and yellow, the opposite arises.

Symptoms of protein deficiency in animals
  • The hair stands up and skin is hard
  • The body condition and weight worsen.
  • The animal walks with curved backs
  • The stop of grazing arises
  • The animals are constantly thirsty, lie down next to water troughs and drink a lot of water.
  • The animals manure is dry, black and hard.
  • The animals intestines can be clogged easily.

Protein is an important requirement, especially in cows.  An animal stresses the most when calving.  This is when the protein requirements increase drastically because the milk is full of protein to sustain the calve and help it grow. Supplementation is necessary during this time.  In addition the animal also needs to maintain body condition because within three months after calving, the cows are on the bull again.  The closer the cow comes to her target weight, the sooner she will be pregnant and the earlier she will calve.


Saturday, 6 June 2015


I have taken a few days to visit the farm.  I usually have a through visit every quarter.  My first production quarter has come and gone by so quickly.  I am surely looking forward to this current quarter.

    Heifers looking good...

    Brahman mom and swiss calf plus a big weaned calf.  Nose ring works wonders.

    Pure breed Santa Gertrudis heifer.

  OKB677-12 still adjusting to the new environment.

Purpose of the visit was to conduct a livestock inventory. Specifically, a cattle inventory.  This should be part of every farmers management regimen.  I was not only able to count the animals physically, but I was also able to record their production histories.  This is very important.  Every cow should calf every year. The cows that are not productive will be marketed.

So why conduct a livestock inventory?

To identify any missing livestock.  This livestock can either be stolen, dead and never found or perhaps they could be roaming around in neighbors camps.  

To track the production histories of your cows.  Are the cows producing calves yearly.  If not, what could be the reason. Consider the bull to cow ratio.  They say for every 25 cows, 1 bull is needed.  This will increase the calving rate (ratio/percentage of calves born to the total cows in a production system).  My goal is to have more than an 80% calving rate.

To budget.  It is important to know how much one is spending on the operation for water, diesel, licks/supplements, vaccines.  One should also know their expecting income from marketing of livestock. And to do such, figures are needed to work with.

Following my hard copies, I type my data up into a long excel spreadsheet.