Many farms have been, or will be giving their cows boosters as part of their vaccination programmes.

Scour continues to be an issue on many farms during the spring-calving period, with scour being the biggest killer of young calves.

Management practices during the spring are going to be the most impactful on calf health, meaning that practices must be of a high standard in order to reduce cases of scour.


Scour can occur in a number of forms, with nutritional scour occurring due to stress caused by a breakdown in management practices or routine, including sudden changes to the diet or environment.

Scour-causing parasites are Cryptosporidia and Coccidia; viruses that cause scour are Rotavirus and Coronavirus; and bacterial scour is caused by bacteria such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli  (E. Coli).

The management of calves and their environment is going to have the biggest impact on calf health within the shed.

Farmers should ensure that pens are not over crowded, calves have a clean dry bed and the infection pressure is kept low.

Having the shed disinfected prior to calves arriving is also vital. Calf sheds should be treated like a clean room, and a conscious effort should be made to prevent bacteria from spreading.

Footbaths should also be present at the entrance and wearing dirty clothing into the shed should be avoided.


Vaccination for scour are given to the dam, and the antibodies are passed onto the calf through colostrum.

The antibodies will not be passed to the calf unless it receives adequate levels of colostrum.

Ahead of the dry period, it may be a good idea to discuss options with a vet for scour vaccinations to determine when it needs to administered.

There are a number of scour vaccinations available to farmers and a discussion should be had with a vet to determine which would suit every individual farm best.

Although it may not completely eliminate scour on your farm, it should greatly reduce the number of cases that occur.