4 tips for stopping scours

  • Early detection and prevention of scours is crucial during calving season.


Fall is here, and that means calving season is starting up again for some producers. Dr. Shelby Roberts, postdoctoral research fellow in Alltech’s beef nutrition research department, shares her tips on scours prevention in your calves this season.


1. Stop scours early

Early detection of scours is essential so that fluids and electrolytes can be restored in order to correct dehydration as soon as possible. Some common symptoms associated with scours include depression, weak suckling reflex, dehydration (sunken eyes) and abnormal breathing.



2. Manage your herd to minimize risk

Manage your cow herd to minimize calf exposure to pathogens and stress. For example, try to keep calving areas as clean as possible to reduce the calves’ pathogen exposure. If possible, isolate sick calves and their dams from the cow herd to prevent the spread of the pathogen. 



3. Manage nutrient requirements for mother cows

Make sure the dams’ nutritional requirements are being met. Colostrum quality and quantity can be negatively affected by inadequate dam nutrition. Remember, when managing your fall calving herd: Fall calving cows will be lactating throughout the winter, so they will have higher nutritional requirements compared to spring calvers.



4. Use the fecal scoring guide

Check your fecal score using the guide below. If you have a fecal score of less than 2.5 for more than five days, your calves have a problem.


% diarrhea = Total number of calves with a fecal score of “4” x 100 / Number of calves in pen

Duration of diarrhea = Total days from weaning in which calves exhibit a fecal score of “4”