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The basics of life

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We recommend the following practices:

 
  • Clean your crate daily and disinfect calf navels before transport
  • Your shed should be clean, dry and draught free and the pens should have no more than 20 calves in them at any given time.
  • Use all-in-all-out system, rather than mixing groups, or rotating through pens
  • Provide a sick pen to isolate the sick calves and treat them promptly
  • Ideally one person takes responsibility for the calves, and the healthy calves are fed before attending any sick ones
  • The most important thing you can do to prevent illness in young calves is get enough colostrum into them early.  Calves get no immunity from mum while in the womb, and rely on good colostrum intake in the first 12 hours of life to develop an immune systems
  • Since 30% of healthy calves do not drink properly, our advice is to tube feed all newborn calves with two litres of fresh first milking colostrum in the first 6 to 12 hours of their lives
  • Give another two litres in the next six hours, so the calf has at least 10% of its own body weight of colostrum in the first 12 hours of its life
  • Only colostrum from the first six to eight milkings should be stored in a cool, clean place and used to feed the calves.  Colostrum can be stored for up to six months in the freezer