Southern Plains Bison Pointers Feb 2014

Green-up’s here! Yee-haw! What a great place to live if you’re a [Native Grazer] while your relatives in the north battle blue storms and last mile of what can only be referred to this year as a marathon winter.  Our green-up in the southern plains is very aggressive and prolific. Something else happens during the green-up, also aggressive and prolific… worms! The land of early spring-plenty is also the land of early internal parasite attack. This preemptive parasite strike on your bison, will not visibly take its toll on body-score and health until just before the breeding season.  Just like planning forage regimes a season ahead, I like to consider the excess high protein available during the spring [explosion] as preparation for a strong breeding season. This works well so long as the herd is not fighting internal parasites, which you’re feeding instead of the bison, and have a negative impact on their reserve-of-resilience and function going in to the breeding season. Now is the time to plan a worming protocol to deflect the impact to the herd. The caveat is: they are heavy bred.  Therefore, I like to assess this reality and plan an attack on the worms that [may] not involve running them through the chute and stressing them in their heavy third-trimester state. If they look like they can handle it, I chute run them and give my most effective alternate wormer to the products I can administer orally without the chute. It’s a judgment call, but getting ahead of the worms now, planning an additional worming going into the breeding season [late-summer] will upgrade health, reproduction and financial returns.

Bison love the green feed and the mild lush springtime in the southern plains – so does southern-bison enemy #1 – the worms!