Critical window to control Johne’s | DeerPRO Update | Issue 171

Oct 8, 2021

You have a window in the next couple of months for easy, low-cost control of Johne’s disease. Here’s our advice on how not to fly headlong into the lintel next to it.

Now is a critical part of the season for financial return on most deer farms. Workloads are ramping up to hit key targets as spring progresses. Velvet is a top priority for many. Getting as much weight on the weaners as fast as possible to catch the chilled market is essential too.

But in all this excitement, don’t lose sight of another equally important and often unsung, or at least sung in a lower key, aspect of farm management; animal health.

These next few months before fawning/calving are a key opportunity to squash any chance that hinds with clinical Johne’s disease can act as a massive source of infection to your new crop of weaners.

You’ll be able to see them. They’ll typically be a much lower condition score than the rest. Often with signs of scouring, and a coat that changes more slowly to summer fashion that its herd mates.  They will usually be in the tail end of the mob as it moves around the farm. They won’t keep up with the rest if there is much running to be done.

Literally millions of bacteria can be in every gram of their faeces. Pouring out onto your paddocks. Right where the next crop of fawns is about to hit the ground. Into a sea of infectious bacteria. These very young stock are far more susceptible to infection than their parents. Especially in the first few weeks of life when there is colostrum involved and a rapidly evolving gut immune system and flora.

This is where the rubber hits the road for Johne’s control in many herds. You need to cull out those hinds to protect the next generation.    

After all the exciting parts of the day are complete, go for a quiet walk or drive through your hind mob just to take a look. Or look from a distance with your binoculars. Think of it as a rest from the rigours of the rest of the day. And a sound investment in the performance of your farm next season.

For any further questions or assistance with the control of Johne’s disease contact us at DeerPRO: 0800 456 453, or


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