Keep your calf club pets safe
Tips for Raising Healthy Young Stock
Rearing pets for calf club can be an exciting and rewarding experience for our kids. Here are a few tips:
Most importantly enjoy and if you have any questions along the way, contact your Franklin Vets veterinarian.
- A newborn must receive adequate colostrum within 12 hours of birth to develop a correctly functioning immune system. Ideally this will be from the mother, but in the case of orphan animals it must be hand fed.
- To keep animals warm and dry use a draught free shed or kennel as well as lamb or calf covers
- If feeding milk powders, choose a good quality brand and follow the instructions closely. Avoid sudden changes in the type (brand), quantity or temperature of the milk. As a guide, feed 20% of body weight split over several (more for younger animals) small feeds. For example, a 3kg lamb needs 600mls per day fed at 120 ml per feed. Thoroughly clean bottles and teats after each feed. From about two weeks of age, have lamb pellets or calf meal and hay/pasture available to encourage rumen (stomach) development. Always ensure access to fresh, clean water.
- Lambs or kid goats that have come from vaccinated mothers and have received adequate colostrum in the first day of life, will have protection against clostridial diseases for about 3 months. Lambs and kids from unvaccinated mothers should receive a Lamb Vaccine (or PK/Antitet) at 1 week old. All young lambs, kids and calves should be vaccinated with a 5 in 1 vaccine at weaning (or 6 weeks of age), followed by a booster 4 weeks later.
- Once eating grass, young stock should be drenched at about 6 weeks old and again at 10 weeks.
- Procedures such as tail docking (lambs), castration (male animals) and debudding should be carried out at around 2 weeks of age.
Pet calves, lambs and goats love eating things they should not. Unfortunately many garden plants and other items are poisonous. We often see pets that have been poisoned by garden plants.
Calves, lambs and kids are designed to drink milk and eat pasture, hay and limited amounts of meal. Everything else should be avoided and regarded as a potential poison.
Unfortunately, most poisons do not have antidotes. We are limited in what we can do to save poisoned pets.
Don't trust the garden!
The real risks lie in the pets allowed to have a free skip and run around the garden. This should never be allowed to happen as they can't resist having a nibble at whatever takes their fancy. When they are in the garden, always keep lambs and kids on leads or in pens. Keep calves out of the garden unless they are being led.
Here is a short list of the most common killers of calf club pets. If you check your garden you may find one of these killers :
- Lilies of all types
- Lilly of the Valley
- Oleander, this is a real killer
- Potato tops, yes Dad's early potatoes that he is so proud of
- Yew bushes
- Box hedging, just the right height for lambs and kids
Other things to avoid include;
Breaking into meal bags and eating too much meal. Keep meal bags locked away.
Drinking milk too fast. This is usually caused by a split teat or 'someone' cutting too big an opening in the teat so the pet can drink faster. Lambs and kids are supposed to have frequent small feeds. They are not designed to gulp 400mls in one breath. When that happens, milk can spill over into their rumen and rapidly ferment into a deadly bloat.
Pets can get access to buildings other stock don't get into and can nibble away at poisonous chemicals. The most common killer is waste oil which contains large amounts of lead. Calves love chewing on old lead pipes and flashings and licking lead paint. Don't let them!
In summary, if it is not milk, clean pasture, hay or a small amount of meal; do not let pets eat it.
Enjoy your pets and good luck at Agricultural Day.