How to minimise stress to reduce disease risks for weanlings

Eamon O'Connell

Respiratory disease is the leading cause of death in weanlings.

With weaning time fast approaching, a plan should now be formulated now to try to minimise sickness and losses at this time.


Weanlings should be dosed at least one week prior to weaning. This will ensure worm infestation will be at a low level. If they are coughing or scouring, talk to your vet.


IBR,PI3, RSV and pasteurella are all causes of mortality at weaning time. Vaccinations are available to prevent these diseases. All vaccination programmes should be completed before weaning commences.


Minimising stress is an essential step in avoiding sickness in weanlings. Weanlings should be consuming meal well before being weaned. Gradual weaning, if possible, can also make the process less stressful.

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Don't forget the cow

High mag buckets or magnesium boluses should be used to prevent grass tetany as this is an equally stressful time on the cow. Fly repellent products should be used to aid in the prevention of mastitis after weaning.

If you are buying weanlings, you should talk to your vet beforehand to devise a vaccination, dosing and management strategy.

Their dosing and vaccination history is unknown, and often they have only been weaned from their mothers very recently.

When they arrive on your farm, they are in a very delicate state. Stress levels are quite high and they most likely have been exposed to numerous viruses and bacteria on their travels.

They need comfortable surroundings and very close monitoring for the first few days.

They cost more than enough to buy so it is well worth seeking professional advice and spending a little bit more in order to keep them alive.

Online Editors

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