Vaccinations!!!!!

Ridgetop

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We vaccinate our animals like I vaccinated my kids - to avoid disease which can be easily prevented. Better safe than sorry. As in all matters of life, vaccinations are a personal thing. Some areas have more exposure to disease than others. You have to make your own choice based on your beliefs and experience. No one here will judge you.

The loss of any animal is a financial loss, no matter how much or little you paid for it. Add in the cost of feed, upkeep, and your time and effort caring for the animals, and you will appreciate that they have a much higher value than their initial cost. Then add the vet bills once your animal gets the disease for which you did not vaccinate, and your financial loss escalates. If you are emotionally attached to your animals (which most of us are) you will also have to deal with self blame when realizing you could have prevented the animal's suffering and possible death by a simple vaccination. (This self blame occurs even when an animal dies for unpreventable reasons.) These are my reasons for vaccinating.

That said, poultry and rabbits don't need vaccinations. Feeder pigs destined for the freezer don't need vaccinations. I don't vaccinate my barn cats. They are pretty feral, and with our coyote population it would be a waste of money.

I vaccinate my dogs, horses, breeding cattle (when I had any), sheep and goats. I vaccinate my dogs because they are susceptible to various diseases and since they are guardian dogs may come into contact with a rabid animal. I vaccinate my horses for the same reason.

When we raised day old dairy bull calves that are going to auction I don't vaccinate since the buyer vaccinated them at 2 months old which is when I sold them. When we raised replacement dairy heifers, I vaccinated for whatever was needed/required in our area, and also got them a magnet which kept them from perforating their stomach or intestines on bits of wire they might pick up grazing. They got an ear tag showing they had received certain vaccinations. The ear tag and vaccinations are necessary for adult cattle to sell or move.

I vaccinate my sheep and goats with CDT. This is an all in one Clostridium C & D, Tetanus Toxoid vaccine. Babies get 2 doses a month apart. Adults get 1 dose every year. I also use Tetanus Antitoxin on ewe lambs when we dock tails since the Tetanus Toxoid in the CDT has not had time to take effect. Tetanus Antitoxin gives immediate protection. We vaccinate them ourselves.

When considering parasites, pasture rotation is definitely a good control. HOWEVER, it only works if you have ENOUGH pasture to be able to rotate the grazing animals before they graze the forage level down too low. The grazing level has to be kept about 2"-3" above the ground since below that level is where the parasite eggs are located. Depending on your geographical location, your parasite control will vary along with your variety of parasites. If you live in a wet or humid climate, you may have excellent pasture but a much higher parasite problem. You will have to conduct parasite checks on a regular basis and worm whenever necessary. You will also have to rotate wormers to keep from building resistance in the parasites to a specific paracide. Lack of parasite control in heavily infested areas can lead to a high death rate in your flock or herd. Worms can kill. If you live in a hot, dry area (like me in southern CA) you will only have seasonal grazing, feed hay the rest of the time, and because of the extremely hot, dry conditions that kill off the parasite eggs (and all vegetation) will seldom have to worm your animals. I worm once right after my ewes lamb every 8-9 months.

While I understand the desire for "natural" farming without vaccines, and medications, it is important to remember that in the old days when farmers and ranchers did not have vaccines or antibiotics the financial losses could be devastating. Entire herds or flocks could be lost and along with them the farmer's livelihood. Now, with vaccines and antibiotics we can avoid such catastrophes. On the other hand, over use of vaccines or paracides for conditions that are not happening in your herd or flock is unnecessary.
 

MamaGoneCrazy

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Just my 2 cents. There are a few vaccines that will be smart. Blackleg, which is a clostridium, is pretty much necessary. Clostridiums exist in nature, and if a calf gets blackleg, it will kill them in a couple days before you even know they have it. Killed virus., best given after 8-12 weeks. They will have very good resistance to it after that but we give it to all pregnant cows to help pass "passive early immunity" to calves. Cheap insurance to not bury a calf worth 100 x the cost of the vaccine. Often seen in calves in the spring or when there is some wet weather with fast green grass growth too.
Lepto is prevalent in ALL mammals. Causes abortions among other problems. It is another thing that you cannot prevent through good husbandry because it can be passed by a positive fox peeing in the creek, and a cow drinking from it... or a deer peeing on the ground and it getting on some grass that a cow might eat. Every mammal can carry it.
If you are planning a milk cow, get one that has been vaccinated for "bangs" which is brucellosis. Causes Undulant fever in humans.... it is a one time vaccine, at anywhere from 4-12 months old.... good for life. I won't drink milk from a cow without it. It used to be required for all dairy cattle... it has since been NEARLY eradicated but is found in wild deer and bison herds and cattle in the west. No cure for it......no longer required in dairy cattle, but I do all my heifers because then they are eligible to be shipped to any state where it is restricted... and the beef heifers get a tattoo which also helps to identify in case of stealing/rustling.
There are some things that breeding cattle can carry, and a bull can infect the whole herd breeding cows so there are some things you need to consider with that.

There are alot of different vaccines. We only use killed virus vaccines. My go to now is Triangle-10 HB. I do not like any MLV vaccine because of the possibility of aborting a cow with the different things that are ML in it. We use the killed virus vaccine which triggers the system to produce antibody responses without any chance of the animal having reactions.

One of the reasons we do more vaccinations now is that we do buy and sell cattle. Too much exposure to outside unknown germs, viruses and "bugs". But again, there are a few things you cannot control even if you never bring and animal onto your place once you get your original breeders or stock. Most vets push the MLV vaccines, but most of the dairy farmers that I work with use Triangle 10 now.

There are a few things that pigs get that can be vaccinated for. We didn't vaccinate them for anything. If they are feeders for butcher, you will be putting them in the freezer before they can get too much "disease". There are things that breeding sows can have trouble from.

Sheep and goats get CDT which helps to prevent things like overeating disease.... a clostridium and tetanus. Pretty standard and safe. If you lose animals that you could have prevented by a simple vaccine, then you are throwing money away for no good reason.

I do not do alot of vaccinating. But there are some things that it simply makes good practical sense to do. I mean, I get a tetanus booster every so often because I am exposed to MANY situations where getting tetanus could kill me.... simple common sense. But I do not take the yearly flu "shot" or pneumonia shot.... will not take the "covid vaccine" that is not a true vaccine.... I will trust my own bodies immune system.... but there are things that I will do because it is a true vaccine that prevents me from getting the disease. The "vaccines" that are shots are not going to prevent the flu... only possibly make the symptoms less; which often happens if you have a healthy and robust immune system anyway with no other compromising problems.

Vaccines are smart in many cases.
Great explanations! Thanks for taking the time!

My son was vaccine injured at 2 months and my daughter had a birth defect and died from a “perfectly safe” medication I used during my pregnancy, so if I can find a natural way to do anything, I will. But it is a very difficult search to find a different way. Most everyone will vaccinate and depending on if you are buying or selling there are some state laws that require certain things, so if you have to look into those too. I would suggest getting one type of animal at a time because it can be overwhelming and time consuming when you have a sick animal to care for.
 

Isaac

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We don't vaccinate and we've never had a problem. Vaccinating your animals is usually not that good for them. If you shoot the vaccine in there leg they will usually go limp in that leg for a few days, at least with sheep they do. If you are looking to deworm feed them sainfoin hay. Willow branches are also a natural dewormer. If I where you I'd stick to the plan of not vaccinating, its better for the animals overall health.
Hope that helps!
 

Ridgetop

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NO ONE JUDGES HERE AND WE WILL SUPPORT YOUR DECISIONS. Doctors do make a lot of mistakes (my breast cancer being one) and not all medicines and vaccines are effective for everyone. It is really up to you on what you are comfortable with. There are some supposedly "all natural" worm remedies but I don't know if they are truly effective against some of the really bad parasites like Barber Pole. Luckily we don't have Barber Pole worms here.

Where do you live and how much land do you have? Remember that fewer animals will be less crowded and less likely to need vaccines and disease control. Crowding leads to more opportunity for parasites and disease. Depending on the area where you live, different diseases and parasites are less likely to be a problem.

If you check some of the previous postings about natural parasite control on this site you might find something. The best way to control parasites is not letting them eat off the ground, keeping your pasture grass 3' high, rotating your pastures through the complete worm life cycle with no grazing during that time, and breeding for parasite resistance.

If you want truly vaccine and drug free animal keeping, I suggest you keep goats for milk instead of cows since cattle require a lot more disease vaccines and management. Drinking milk from untested cows can be dangerous whereas it is almost unheard of for goats to contract some of the diseases which infect cattle. By selecting the species of animals that don't need vaccinations, and making sure that your feed is not medicated by reading the labels will allow you to maintain healthy farm livestock without vaccines.

My second child also had a reaction to his first DPT shot. He start to convulse but stopped almost immediately. After talking to the pediatrician after that we stopped giving the Pertussis vaccine. Otherwise, none of my 4 children had any reactions. The same child contracted Strep at 23 months. the pediatrician did not want to give him any antibiotics at first because he said children under 2 did not get Strep. I knew this was false since many infants used to die of Strep in the old days. My grandmother raised me and was staying with us at the time. 2 days later (without antibiotics) he threw out the Scarlet Fever rash which she recognized. This time the head of pediatrics saw him when my husband went roaring into the medical facility. It took 2 types of antibiotics (he kept throwing up the first type of Penn) to cure him and we were worried for years about Rheumatic Fever and heart damage. There are legitimate concerns about vaccines, and allergic reactions to many medicines.

Being raised by my grandmother meant that she taught me about a lot of the old diseases that we just don't see any more. Have you ever seen a case of Scabies? Rarely, any more. My oldest grandson got Impetigo when he was about 3 and the nurse practitioner just told my daughter to put antibiotic cream on it and send him to preschool! Impetigo is a very contagious bacterial disease. It is common but not recognized by most people. It kept getting worse and she called me and described it. I told her it sounded like impetigo, to take him to her pediatrician NOT the NP, and keep him out of preschool. He ended up on both a topical antibiotic and an oral one to cure him. Have you ever seen Ringworm on a child? It can be common in goats and cats, but is also very contagious across species, and many doctors don't recognize it. Vets do, but not all pediatricians have ever seen a case since is is no longer common in children.

We have never had a problem vaccinating our grown sheep and goats in the leg. You can also use the shoulder If your animals limp after vaccinating, maybe you got too close to a nerve on that animal. I vaccinate my sub Q babies in the skin of the inner thigh. No lumps since they are running and massaging the area naturally. I started doing this years ago when we learned that vaccinations could cause abscesses. Abscesses in the carcass lead to a deduction in price if you are selling for meat.

By the way, just got our second Covid vaccinations - no reactions, not even soreness in my arm. I am Type O blood, take extra vitamin D, and C/Zinc Elderberry for cold prevention. No colds, no Covid, I don't think I would ever get it, but DH and I got the vaccinations more for everyone else than for ourselves.

Don't worry too much about this, relax, and have fun with your farm! That is what keeps us all going! :)
 

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