Calf Management

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  • Calf management is very necessary because 50% mortality of newborn calves occur due to mismanagement. Important steps are listed below:
  • After their birth, calf should preferably be removed immediately from their dams.
  • Clean the mucous from the nostrils and mouth cavity and make sure that calf’s respiration is normal. If it is not normal, perform artificial respiration. Artificial respiration can be performed by alternately applying and releasing pressure on the rib cage of calf. Respiration can also be stimulated by inserting the handle of a small, clean spoon about two inches up to the nostrils of the calf and rotating it to stimulate the nerves.
  • Cut the navel cord leaving 3-6 inches apart from the body and dip it in tincture iodine twice a day until it dries. Dipping helps dry the cord and protects from infection. The stump should be rechecked for infection during the first 3 days after birth.
  • Dry the body of the calf especially in winter to prevent from chilling, hypothermia, and pneumonia that leads to death of the calf. Dry with any clean cloth. This will also stimulate the general blood circulation.
  • Record the weight of the calf
  • Feed colostrum at rate of 10% body weight within 24 hours (half amount within first hour and other half amount later)

Colostrum

  • Colostrum is defined as the secretion from the mammary gland of mammals during the first/few days after parturition
  • Compared with normal milk, first milking colostrum has fiftyfold higher concentration of antibodies. So colostrum’s provide passive immunity to calf.
  • Colostrum also provides energy which is critically important to the newborn, especially for the first day of life.
  • The lactose concentration in colostrum is much lower than that of true milk. This characteristic is biologically important because lactase is not present in the small intestine during the first day of life and a high intake of lactose causes diarrhea in the calf. The low levels of lactose therefore allow high intakes of colostrum during the first day, thereby optimizing passive immunity.
  • A concentrated source of growth factors is also furnished by colostrum.

Management of Calf Milk Feeding and Wearing

  • After the colostrum feeding period, the calf is fed a liquid diet which may contain one or more of the following:
  • Surplus colostrum
  • Transition milk
  • Un-saleable milk (contaminated with antibiotics, mastitis milk or milk with unacceptably high somatic cell count)
  • Normal milk
  • Milk replacer
  • Colostrum and transition milk have the best nutritional value of all liquid feeds available to the calf if properly collected and stored. Colostrum can be frozen or fermented and conserved with bicarbonate
Age Milk/ milk Replacer Calf starter Water Fodder
After birth Colostrums (10% of Body Weight)
1-2 days 2-4 Kg colsotrum (10% of Body Weight)
2-4 days Milk/milk replacer (10% of Body Weight) Yes
4-7 days Milk/milk replacer (10% of Body Weight) Yes Yes
7-14 days Milk/milk replacer (10% of Body Weight) Yes Yes
2-8 weeks Start reducing milk/milk replacer Yes Yes Soft green fodder
9 weeks No milk/milk replacer Yes Yes Soft green fodder
  • For milk feeding use a bucket with nipple. This bucket should not be placed at floor but at the height of 70 cm.

Vaccination & Deworming-

For FMD and HS

  • First injection at age of one month, second injection at the age of 1.5 month, then the repeat after six months of second injection.
  • Vaccination of brucellosis should be done at the age of 4-7 months.

Deworming of calf should be done at the age of 2-3 weeks and then after every three months.

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