Optimizing Calf Health is Future-Proofing Your Business

08/05/2018 0 Comment(s) Cattle,

Last month we talked about putting together the best tool kit to achieve successful calving.  Clearly this is only the first step in the bigger picture towards rearing a herd of animals that is stronger, healthier and better producing than previous years.  While we are all grateful for the option of modern-day intervention techniques, ideally we are using best practice strategies to ensure optimum animal welfare on our farms without the need for antibiotics or veterinarian support.

To help us achieve this goal, we then need to take a closer look at what we are doing to optimize the health of our calves after a successful delivery.  The effort you put in to your calves from birth is really an investment into the future of your farm.  Many studies have proven that the work you do now to help a calf grow strong and healthy will result in a cow that is strong and healthy.

This is about breeding a herd that has fewer health issues, produces more good quality milk and bares healthy calves.  Your investment into your calves then becomes part of a natural life-cycle that pays you back ten-fold and for many years to come.

So what are some of the techniques and tools that we recommend for optimizing calf health? 

  • Calf Resuscitator – It’s an unfortunately reality of calving that you will have to deal with a difficult birth at some stage.  By investing in a calf resuscitator you can keep the calf breathing and alive after a difficult birth.
  • Calf Drencher or Stomach Feeder – It’s now a well-known and readily accepted fact that feeding four litres of good quality colostrum within the first 6-11 hours after birth provides an essential immunity boost to help the calf grow into a strong and healthy cow.  The only way to do this effectively is through the use of a drencher or stomach feeder.  We recommend products with a flexible probe to allow you quick and easy access to the calf’s stomach and minimising stress to the animal.
  • Colostrometer – This is a great product to identify a cow or quarter with good colostrum which you can then withhold, freeze and keep for feeding to new born calves when needed.
  • Milk Warmer – It’s a fact of life and nature that younger calves will drink more milk, more readily if it is warmed.  Any decent milk warmer will have a built-in thermostat to ensure you don’t over-heat the milk, and long handle to allow you to warm milk in anything up to a 200L drum.