Every fall we precondition the calves. Just like humans, cattle need vaccinations to protect them from respiratory disease. Preconditioning also helps to prepare calves for weaning by increasing their resistance to diseases and decreasing overall sickness and death loss.
Cousin T built an alley for calf preconditioning. 8-9 calves fit in the alley and the shot givers walk along and administer vaccinations. There is a top on the alley to prevent the calves from jumping on each other. Last winter, Cousin T put the alley on wheels!
This year J decided to precondition early; we usually do it mid September. J wanted to pull the bulls off the cows while we had the cattle gathered. He also wanted to get the shots in the calves earlier, so they had more time to build immunity in their system.
We had a crew of 6-7 people. Two people working the back bringing calves up the alley and two shot givers. J’s Dad opens the gate to let the calves out of the alley and keeps a count. I am the chalker. After the calves get both shots I put a chalk mark on them. We like to do this just in case there is an accident. Sometimes a syringe gets broken or the cattle get mixed up. With a chalk mark we know who has been worked and who has not.
When all is said and done we eat a delicious dinner and enjoy a visit with the neighbors.