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Miniature-Cattle.com » breeding miniature cattle » Biosecurity & Quarantine
» see also: Miniature Cattle Sire Directory; miniature bulls and homestead breeds of bulls
» see also: Sire Testing; what to check before collecting a bull
» see also: Bull Stats; information needed for selling frozen semen
» see also: Herd Health; infectious diseases, testing, vaccination, management, prevention
» see also: Genotyping Cattle; DNA tests for genetic traits, heritable conditions & disease
» see also: Genetic Mutations: 12 interesting facts about DNA mutations that labs may not tell you
» see also: Coat Color in Cattle
» see also: Chondrodysplasia; miniature cattle and dwarfism
» see also: Frame Scores; height divisions in breeds of cattle
» see also: Breeds of Miniature Cattle; pure breeds and percentage breeds of North America
» see also: 10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Breed

a closed herd
Chart above from: Defining the basic needs for herd health
by Bret McNabb for Progressive Cattleman Published on 25 July 2016.

A closed herd is the ideal situation for herd health. But forming and maintaining a closed herd is difficult for most large ranches, let alone small homesteads. First of all, a closed herd must be large enough to produce its own replacement females. For bulls it uses mostly AI sires, and if large enough, may raise a few of its own cleanup bulls that are unrelated enough. For any size herd, developing a closed herd requires serious investment of time and money. Once achieved it becomes easier, although it will always require strict protocol and vigilance to maintain its closed herd status.

Is your herd really "closed?" Maintaining a closed herd is ideal for the herd health and biosecurity standpoint, but how “closed” is a closed herd? Viral and bacterial diseases that are commonly vaccinated against in our cattle herds, are also found in wild herds of whitetail, muledeer & elk. Deer may alternate between your feed pile and the neighbors’ feed piles. Deer species in the U.S. have been found with Tuberculosis, Cryptosporidium, Chronic Wasting disease, Salmonella, Brucellosis and Bluetongue virus (See Böhm et al., 2007, for full report). Other wildlife, particularly birds, rodents, dogs, and even hay contaminated with raccoon feces & urine can also introduce Salmonella, Cryptosporidium, Leptospirosis, Rabies, and more diseases. Although disease transmission risk is lower with closed herds, it is often not eliminated. Speak with your veterinarian about a vaccination program that is appropriate for your situation. ~ Carl Dahlen, NDSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, North Dakota State University

Homestead owners who buy cattle should assess their biosecurity risk and the potential impact of introducing disease--especially: Johne’s, BVD, Strep ag, Staph aureus, Mycoplasma mastitis, infectious foot diseases, Salmonella, and Neospora. Risk of introduction can be reduced by requesting a history of health status and management programs for specific diseases, buying from lower-risk sources, and using quarantine to initially isolate new animals--particularly from youngstock--and instituting recommended vaccination and prevention practices in the home herd. A small healthy herd can still be maintained with a reasonable level of biosecurity, utilizing practices similar to closed herds, but with more practical applications:

  1. Perform regular health testing & vaccination of the home herd.
  2. Biosecurity measures designed to keep infectious agents out of the herd include
    - Test purchase animals for carrier state - prior to purchase!
    - Quarantine purchased animals on arrival - for 60 days – with no nose to nose contact.
    - While in quarantine, administer any needed vaccines, and treatment for internal and external parasites like worms, flies, grubs, lice, or coccidiosis.
  3. When breeding; use CSS certified frozen semen or purchase virgin bulls.
  4. Buy cattle from a seller that employs similar high standards of biosecurity, requiring that replacement animals come properly vaccinated, and from certified or health test-negative herds.

Quarantine: Quarantine for homestead biosecurity involves the isolation of new or returning cattle. Home quarantine prevents potential contamination spread from other animals. Quarantine premisis includes distance from all shared drinking water, drainage water sources, fields, facilities, pastures, tracks, paddocks, corrals or pens that are part of the quarantine area or isolation facility. It includes humans feeding with clean footwear & clothing not previously worn near other livestock, or tires of trucks that have driven through other herds of livestock. While in quarantine, new animals can be treated as needed to meet your herd health management levels.

Transport: To cross a state line or enter a showground, cattle first need a clean bill of health on a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI or "health certificate"), which is usually good for 30 days from date of issue. Cattle may not be issued a health permit if they live within 10 miles of a known infected ("reportable diseases"), biocontained quarantined herd.


The bottom line: Unfortunately, knowingly and unknowingly, many, many herds of normal looking cattle carry disease, and, cattle are sold every day that carry infectious disease. Some are untested carriers, some are known carriers being culled at auctions, and some are healthy but newly exposed cattle at the auction... (exposure can happen in 1 hour at a sale barn), or elsewhere. Buyers of diseased cattle stand to lose $1000s of dollars, if they bring one home and put them in with their own healthy cattle. Depending upon what disease a herd comes down with, buyers may lose a calf crop, or the herd may need expensive, long term treatment, or in worst cases, the entire herd may need to be destroyed. It can take years to regain a completely healthy herd again. To avoid such loss and heartache, not to mention years of one's own breeding & selection, using a reasonable measure of biosecurity is well worth the investment. It may appear daunting at first, but in practice, using your large animal veterinarian and local extension agent, and even the farm supply store, will all help you develop a realistic herd health program for your small acreage.

go home little cow
go home little cow

sources include:
Progressive Cattle
Genetic Defects • www.eBEEF.org • 2014-9
publisher: Vintage Publishers
published online: March 2019
author: Donna Grace