Raising calves isn’t as simple as you might expect. If your goal is to raise a strong, milk-bearing calf, you need to start caring for them as soon as they are born. I’m here today to tell you about some basic calf care tips. We’ll discuss colostrum, general health, and a few other tips as well. Let’s get started!
Calves require at least 4 if not 6 liters of fresh colostrum immediately after being born. Make sure they get at least this amount within the first 12 hours of being born. If the calf doesn’t get enough fresh colostrum, its immune system won’t develop properly.
Colostrum provides the calf with necessary antibodies. To ensure the calf has enough, you can test it with a Brix refractometer. You want a level of 22% or higher. Get a Brix refractometer from a nearby vet, if you don’t already have one.
The best kind of colostrum to use for a new-born calf is gold colostrum. Gold colostrum can be kept frozen for up to half a year. Make sure you thaw it out and warm it up before letting your calf drink it. That being said, it is much better to give your calf fresh gold colostrum.
Tube VS Bottle
The two methods for giving colostrum to your calf are with a bottle or a tube. The bottle is much nicer on the calf whereas the tube can be distressing.
When possible, use a bottle to feed your calf. However, in the event that your calf isn’t able to drink enough from the bottle, you can use the tube to make certain they get the necessary antibodies.
Keeping Your Calves Healthy
The main method for keeping your calves healthy is by providing hygienic bedding and equipment. Wash down all equipment with hot water and detergent often. You should also regularly disinfect the place where you keep your calves.
If one of your calves gets sick, you need to separate it from the rest immediately. It is best to have a hospital pen for sick calves. This way, you can quickly separate them while also keeping them comfortable.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make sure to vaccinate all of your calves at the appropriate age. Making sure your calves are as healthy as possible limits your expenses, improves the quality of milk, and causes your calves to grow up happily.
Perform Regular Health Checks
One of the best ways to ensure you catch an illness early is to check for typical signs. For a start, any calf that seems weaker than usual is likely fighting some kind of disease. Some of the more obvious signs are dry, blocked-up noses, ulcers in the mouth, infected ears or skin, etc. Make sure to check every calf thoroughly every couple of days, if not daily.
Other Tips for Calf Care
The first thing you need to understand is how delicate a new-born calf can be. You must treat them carefully and delicately. Guide them gently. Never use force.
Make sure your calves have ample bedding as well. You must keep them in a dry and warm place, especially if they are separated from their mother.
Another thing is to keep a steady routine. Calves are easily distressed, so it is best to keep their routine regular. Make sure you feed and water them at the same time every day.
There are still many more factors for handling a new-born calf. If you still have questions, please feel free to leave a comment!