In order to properly care for our cattle and provide safe, wholesome, and nutritious beef to tables all over the world, we have a vaccination schedule. The schedule follows the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) set of standards, and tells us which vaccines are needed and when to give them. One of those necessary vaccines is the Bangs vaccine, it is given to heifers entering the reproductive herd and must be administered prior to their first birthday. Friday was Bangs day, here at the ranch.
The Bangs vaccine prevents infection and spread of Bangs disease. Bangs disease, also known as Brucellosis, is a contagious disease that causes abortion. It is an especially concerning disease because it can be transferred from wild species, such as buffalo, to domestic cattle. The good news is that through diligent vaccination of replacement heifers, cases of Brucellosis are extremely rare in the domestic cattle herd nationwide.
Producers can administer most vaccines, but the Bangs vaccine must be given by a licensed veterinarian. Along with the vaccination, the veterinarian gives each heifer two forms of identification verifying she has received her Bangs vaccination. While the vet was doing his job, the crew gave the heifers new ear tags, an additional pre-breeding vaccine, and a booster vaccine to prevent respiratory disease.
Bangs day, like other processing days, requires planning, preparation, and a crew bigger than Tom, myself, and the kids. Tom began planning weeks ago and had the handling facilities (portable bud box, alleyway, and chute) set up and ready to go. Through a series of strategic moves in the days prior to Bangs day, he had the heifers in the pasture next to the handling facilities. My job, as the ranch wife, was to plan and prepare a snack and lunch for the crew (click here for the lunch recipe).
Processing began at daylight, and despite a few minor setbacks (the chute broke down, I burned the rolls, etc.) the day really went off without a hitch. All the heifers received their vaccinations and are now protected from potentially devastating diseases, and no one minded a few burnt rolls!