Hi, I’m Ben Soukup. I work on a farm where we have been vaccinating sick calves using a dart gun for numerous years. This is a very great labor reducing task. This can be a very useful technique to properly treat livestock and save an animal’s life. I am going to show you ten easy steps to properly load a dart and dart gun to safely vaccinate an animal. This is an easy and effective way to treat livestock.
Supplies Needed: Dart gun, dart, sterile water, vaccine, syringe, 18 or 19 gauge needle, Triple antibiotic, sick calf
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Step 1: Identify Sick Livestock and What Ails It
Determine what the livestock is sick with, so you use the proper medicine to make the livestock feel better. Usually, the cow isn't sucked out or the calf just doesn't look like it is feeling great. You can also use the darts and dart gun on cows.
Step 2: Read Proper Dosages
Read proper dosages on medication bottle, it is important to not use too much or too little vaccine. It will usually say how many cc’s per 100 weight to give calves. You should be able to find this on the back of the bottle. The label says how much to use.
Step 3: Select a Dart
Select a dart big enough to hold the proper dosage. Darts come in different sizes, 1 cc, 3 cc, 5 cc, 10 cc. Packages should say what size they are on them, you want to select one big enough to hold the proper amount of vaccine.
Step 4: Fill a Syringe
Fill a syringe with the correct dosage of medication. The syringe should have a 18 or 19 gauge needle on it so it is small enough to fit in the tip of the dart. The small needle may cause the syringe to fill up slower then you are used to.
Step 5: Filling the Dart
Holding dart vertical insert syringe needle through dart needle and push on the back of the syringe to fill it up, the dart must be filled completely to fly correctly. So, if you had a 3 cc dart but only need 2 cc’s of medicine, then you must repeat step four except using sterile water to ensure dart is full and flies correctly.Sometimes some medicine will bubble out the top if this happens just go a little slower and you shouldn't have that problem.
Step 6: Covering Needle Hole
Put triple antibiotic or Neosporin around the hole on the needle so the animal won't get an infection from the dart and so none of the medication will leak out the top while it is being loaded. You don’t need much, just enough to cover the needle hole.
Step 7: Put Dart in Chamber
Put the dart in the chamber, it is kind of hard to push in there. Should be able to close the chamber though. Put the dart in needle first.
Step 8: Pump Gun
Pump the dart gun. Usually takes 6 to 7 for cows and 3 to 5 pumps for calves. The more you pump it the farther the dart flies. This part is just like any normal pump pellet gun.
Step 9: Turn Safe Off and Shoot
Turn the safe off (which is just a little button by the trigger) and you are ready to shoot. Aim for the neck of the animal where usual vaccinations take place. We always try to get as close as possible to ensure we don’t miss because darts and the medicine can be expensive.