Dairy School: Focusing on calf health reduces mortality

Dairy calves experience many challenges in early life, and producers need to be diligent in the hours and days after birth to ensure calf health and reduce mortality.

Overall, research shows that eight percent of calves die within 48 hours of birth — this includes those born dead or those that die within the first two days, notes University of Guelph veterinarian David Renaud. Another six percent of calves die in the pre-weaning period (the first 60 days).

On this episode of the RealAgriculture Dairy School, Renaud shares health management tips to help producers reduce the number of calves lost on Canadian farms.

Renaud says better calf health starts with better colostrum management. Feeding an adequate quantity of high-quality colostrum quickly after birth is essential for both male and female calves. Consistent and timely colostrum will ensure young calves can fight disease.

Colostrum also plays a role in managing umbilical infections. Maintaining a clean maternity pen area and housing calves on clean and dry bedding are also good preventative practices to minimize navel infections. Renaud notes that early life nutrition is essential for calf health and producers are encouraged to feed calves higher volumes of milk — 20 percent of the calf’s body weight as recommended by the Dairy Code of Practice.

Renaud also encourages dairy producers to better engage with their veterinarians on calf health. Too often the farm vet is under-utilized when it comes to calf management, he notes

Click here for more Dairy School episodes.

Leave a Reply

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

gdpr, __cfduid, PHPSESSID, wordpress_test_cookie, woocommerce_items_in_cart, woocommerce_cart_hash, wp_woocommerce_session, wordpress_logged_in, wordpress_sec, wp-settings, wp-settings-time, __cf_mob_redir, wordpress_cache, realag
__cfduid

Marketing

Measuring interactions with the ads on the domain.

__gads,fsk_ut_2317
scmtid,v,a,JSESSIONID
IDE

Statistics

These are used to track user interaction and detect potential problems. These help us improve our services by providing analytical data on how users use this site.

_ga,_gid,_gat,_cb,_chartbeat2,_chartbeat4
_ga,_gat
_ga,_gid
metrics_token

Preferences

Preference cookies enable the website to remember information that changes the way the website behaves or looks, like your preferred language or the region that you are in.

chartdefaults, comment_author, comment_author_email, comment_author_url
JSESSIONID, _os_session,anonymous_votes,csrf-param,csrf-token,user,user-id,user-platform,intercom-session,intercom-lou,intercom-session
personalization_id, tfw_exp