By John Moran
Offers details on development, nutrients, future health and behaviour in addition to descriptions of varied calf elevating platforms and amenities.
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Additional info for Calf Rearing: A Practical Guide (Landlinks Press)
Furthermore, calves born weak or having difficult births may not even stand for several hours. As already mentioned, the Ig concentration of the colostrum may be low, meaning that calves have to voluntarily drink large volumes at a time when both cow and calf would prefer to rest. Because the gut absorbs less Ig following this first drink, it is preferable to prevent the calf from suckling her dam unless the colostrum is guaranteed to be high quality. There will also be room in the calf ’s stomach for the administration of additional selected colostrum.
However, as soon as they start eating solid feeds, particularly dry feeds like hay or straw, calves require continuous or regular access to fresh water. This simple practice will increase their intake of solid feeds and so reduce their age at weaning. Overseas producers often include water in concentrate mixes to produce a slurry that allows feeds to bypass rumen digestion and so be better utilised by the young animal. Work to date has been mainly with intensively fed lambs. To standardise the description of feed intake, it is usually expressed in terms of dry matter (DM).
In searching for the teat, calves are likely to take in more pathogens than they would get from a sterilised stomach tube. The longer calves spend with their dams, the greater their chances of contracting disease. The practice of ‘snatch calving’, or removing the calves from their dams at birth, may be difficult to encourage in seasonal calving herds unless there are obvious benefits through reduced health problems, such as Johne’s disease, and reduced mortalities. It would greatly increase labour requirements during the busy calving period.