Strategies for the Management of newborn calves

Calves production plays a major role in livestock industry. According to an estimate, 15 billion calves are produced annually in Pakistan. Normally, a buffalo can produce a calf in ten months after crossing or mating and cattle in nine months.

Almost (9-10%) percent calves are dead every year due to improper management and attack of severe diseases. The first hour after calving is the most critical period in the entire life of new born calf. If the management is not done properly then the calf becomes prone to three important diseases including Navil ill (3.1%), diarrhoea (5.2%) and pneumonia (2%). By designing Health Management program, we can get rid of these diseases.

Principles of calf management and rearing:

Adequate colostrum intake, housing husbandry, pen size and proper air space, stress reduce transport, water intake, feeling schedule, milk and milk feeder management, feeding concentrate and fibers and proper ventilation.                                                                                

Important points for calf care and management:

Following points should be kept in mind before going for calve management

1) Separation of calf from cow: Not separate the calf from cow immediately after calving, it can increase the stress of calf. Allow cow to lick the calf which promotes the circulation in calf body and make able the calf to stand up and walk.

2) Resuscitation of calf: Suspend the calf upside down. Stick a straw or finger into its nostrils. Pour cold water over calf head in summer season. However, in winter dry off wet shivering calf and place them under infrared Lamb.

3) Navel management practices: Dip the navel into 7% tincture iodine and tie the navel cord with a thread at a distance of around 2 inch from base and cut the remaining cord with clean instrument

4) Colostrum feeding: First milk produced from cow after calving. It is Passport of life for calf. A new born calf should be given 2 liters of colostrum within first 2 hours. It is given 10% of body weight of calf. Colostrum containing antibodies and provides immunity to calf against many diseases. Colostrum is highly fortified source of nutrient having 7 times the protein and twice the total solids of normal milk, thus it gives an early boost in portion and solid intake.

 

Constituents

Colostrum of cow milk

Colostrum of buffalo milk

Milk

Total Solid

28.30

31.0

12.86

Ash

1.58

0.9

0.72

Fat

0.15-1.2

4.0

4

Lactose

2.5

2.2

4.8

Casein

4.76

7.7

2.8

Albumin

1.5

3.6

0.55

Globulin

15

12.5

Total protein

21.32

23.8

3.34

 

5) Calf starter feed: They are first day concentrate mixture fed to calves. Calves starts eating small amount of dry starter from the 2nd week of life. To train them to eat starter mix, the following procedure may be useful. A calf starter should be highly palatable. It should be high energy (75% TDN) and contain 14-16 per cent digestible crude protein. Calf starter may be fed on free-choice basis until the calf starts consuming about 1-1.5 kg of the starter mix a day after which the amount may be restricted. Generally, calves reach this stage by 2 ½ months to 3 months of age. Milk feeding can be discontinued earliest which the calf is consuming 0.4-0.5 kg of concentrate per day deepening upon the breed. A great variety of calf starter are available. The constituents of calf starter may be altered according to the availability of feed in the region and cost.

Composition of calf starter

Ingredients

Parts

Maize

42

GNC

35

Wheat barn and rice barn

10

Fish meal

10

Mineral mixture

2

Salt

1

 

6) Calf Housing: Try to maintain dry bedding material. Thickness of bedding material should 2-3 inch. Regular house and personal disinfection. Adequate feeding and water space should be provided by keeping in mind air space variartions.

7) Deworming: Dewormer’s are used for external and internal worms. Within 10-14 days of age subsequently on monthly bases up to 6 months. For Round worms (First dose at 10 days of age and thereafter at month interval up to 6 month), For liver fluke (twice a year in endemic year, before and after moon soon) and for Tapeworms (twice a year, in January and June)

8) Vaccination: When animals are of 3 months then contact veterinary doctor for vaccination. Post calving Vaccination in Nursing calves (2-3 month of age), 4- way viral BRD vaccine, Pasturella Bacterin `,Heamophillus Bacterin , 5 – way lepto- Bacterin and 7 or 8 – way black leg vaccine. Pre-weaning Vaccination of Nursing calves (3 weeks before weaning) ,4- way viral BRD vaccine, Bang’s vaccine, Pasturella Bacterin, Hamophillus Bacterin and 7 or 8 – way black leg vaccine

Conclusions:  Five C’s provide effective formula for management of calf.  Colostrum, Cleanliness, Comfort, Calories and Consistency. However, if you face any difficulty to follow these rules, kindly consult doctors of College of veterinary and animal sciences, Jhang which are available all the time for your help and guidelines.

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