For a herd calving in spring, the busiest time of year is calving season, so get ahead and prepare for spring. now, not bad.
Although spring seems far away now, it will not be long in coming.
If you haven’t already, you should start washing and high-pressure sanitizing your farm’s calf pens and barns.
A wide variety of pathogens can remain alive in the environment for several months, that is to say Cryptosporodium parvum, which can remain in the environment for up to six months.
Last spring saw several delays in the export of calves due to bad weather conditions. This meant that many farms had additional calves for a longer period.
This puts pressure on many current calf buildings and poses the question to many farms: is additional calf housing necessary?
Building a new calf shed at the end of the year is unrealistic, but calf hutches could offer an effective solution for many farms.
Treating sick calves is part of the calf rearing process, but if last year’s disease was more prevalent than usual, something may need to be changed.
If scouring was a problem last year, ideally you should have taken samples and sent them to a lab for analysis to determine the bacteria causing the problem.
A disinfectant known to kill this bacteria should then be used before the calves begin to arrive, and again when the barn is completed for the year.
If pneumonia was a problem last year, you need to make changes to the shed to try and prevent it from being a problem this year.
Pneumonia can be caused by several factors, including the presence of bacteria and viruses, the environment and the animal’s immune status.
Environmental factors that can cause pneumonia include low environmental temperatures, high humidity, poor ventilation, and direct drafts.
Raising calves can be a tedious process, but there is a wide range of calf rearing equipment that can reduce this time i.e. a automatic calf feeder, which will not only reduce the time spent feeding the calves, but will also monitor the intake of each calf.
An automatic feeder will not be suitable for all farms, a milk cart may be more suitable for some farms, especially on farms where calves may be housed in more than one barn.
Milk carts reduce the amount of buckets to transport, while mixing breast milk for you.
While they won’t completely reduce the time it takes to rear calves, they can create more time during the busy spring calving season to complete other chores.