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Minimal response to B12

Alan and Tania Clarke manage the herd at Netherdale Red Deer. On the basis of results they’d achieved with sheep, they tried giving vitamin B12 injections in deer following weaning – B12 is thought to stimulate appetite and help cope with stress.

In a split trial in spring with weaner hinds grazed together on red clover for 67 days, half were given a 3ml “Smartshot” injection and the others were untreated. There was only a small (6g/day) growth advantage in the treated animals. The carcass weight advantage, even at an $11 schedule, was barely enough to pay the $3.40 cost for the shot.

However a much cheaper, shorter-acting alternative, “Proloject”, costs just 7 cents a shot and is being given three times (weaning, pre-winter and spring). The Clarkes intend to persist with this treatment to see if there will be a more cost-effective advantage. (It may be more telling to try the treatment on less palatable feed to see if the appetite stimulant effect is greater.)