A new addition to livestock farmer's armoury in the fight against pneumonia, could be specially formulated feed licks.

Changes in management of young stock and the introduction of Feedmix Breathe Mix licks by Gerald and Morag Smith, at Drumsleed, Laurencekirk, has resulted in a reduction in pneumonia cases with none recorded in the winter of 2011 and none so far this season.

Alongside the commercial herd, Gerald, Morag and Douglas Smith own the renowned Drumsleed Simmental herd and the change to Breathe Mix was made after several years' use of vaccines in their stock management programme.

"We had previously used vaccines to treat the calves but decided to change to buckets when we felt the vaccines were becoming progressively less effective," says Mr Smith.

"When you come in to the shed you can smell the Breathe Mix, in fact, it clears your own nasal passages! We have used it now for three years and we haven't had too much pneumonia. In fact, we had none in 2011 and have had none so far this winter," says Mr Smith.

Breathe Mix licks have been specifically formulated with essential oils and garlic to assist in the prevention of respiratory problems associated with housing. Available in 25kg buckets, the lick contains all natural protein and is fully supplemented with all the minerals and vitamins required by calves.