2011 - Volume #35, Issue #4, Page #42[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Cattle Ear Tage Senses Temperature
"Good, experienced cattle hands are becoming harder and harder to find," says Crider. "We can teach people how to physically handle cattle, but the process of observing cattle to determine if they're healthy, if they're eating properly and if they're on the verge of getting sick is more difficult. FeverTags makes that process much easier, because the blinking lights tell at a glance which animals to watch."
Crider says the early warning system lets them treat sick animals sooner. "A fever occurs anywhere from 24 hrs. to 3 days before visual signs such as drooping ears, lethargic physical activity and loss of appetite."
The FeverTag is a 1/2-oz. ear tag that's placed in an animal's ear just like a typical two-piece ID tag. It's made from the same durable weather resistant plastic.
The heart of the device is a small computer microprocessor that monitors an animal's core body temperature every 15 min. An ultra-bright light flashes in the tag when a higher than normal temperature is detected. Crider said the flashing light is easy to see in sunlight or at night.
While FeverTags were originally designed for high-risk cattle, Crider said they're gaining acceptance by cattlemen who want to monitor their cattle first rather than mass treating them with antibiotics.
"The cost for mass treating a group of cattle can be $18 to $20 or more per animal, and that's significant if you're bringing in hundreds of cattle at a time," says Crider. "The FeverTag is an ideal alternative, because initially it costs $16.95, and a tag can be used for 3 to 4 60-day cycles. That translates into less than $3.50 per head."
FeverTags are available in three temperature settings: 103, 103.06, and 104 degrees F. Each of the settings represents different treatment protocols for beef or dairy cattle.
Alvin Fults of Tejas Trading Company in Amarillo says tags are a "no-brainer investment for better herd health and lets him see sick cattle sooner than if he's just observing them while they're eating."
Cattle managers at the Dean Cluck Feedyard in Gruver, Texas say FeverTags take the guesswork out of seeing which cattle are sick and need immediate attention. Sick cattle can be treated sooner and get back on feed sooner, which saves the feedlot money while maintaining average daily gains.
FeverTags are available from Walco, and will also be available from Tractor Supply in the fall of 2011.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Richard Crider, FeverTags LLC, 12208 Canyon Drive, Amarillo, Texas 79119 (ph 888 345-8247; www.fevertags.com).
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