Dr Bas Schouten B.V.Sc, Veterinary Consultant on Calf Rearing and The Growth of Young Stock in New Zealand, summarises the key factors of calf rearing health and survival with the following points:
Healthy calves come from healthy cows.
So the first cornerstone is that the calf should come from a well fed, fully vaccinated herd.
Colostrum must be hygienically harvested and stored.
The quality of colostrum is often considered to be the most important but equally important is the amount offered.
Calves must be fed 4–6 litres (10–15% of bodyweight) in the first 6–8 hours.A good quality easy-to-suck teat is a great way to a good start. Easy to suck – easy to like.
Compromised calves – that are born weak, exhausted or suffering cold stress – need a physiologically easy-to-suck teat.
An easy-to-suck teat with an internal valve makes this task easier. With the Peach Teat the curding, digestion and absorption of the milk ingredients is physiologically normal.
The first two weeks of a calf’s life is critical.
Good early weight gains and minimal disease prior to weaning has a lasting beneficial longterm effect. A teat that encourages good, vigorous and the easy feeding of milk during this period is essential.
The feeding of calves in small groups of 5–10 appears to stimulate a good physiological response amongst pen mates and often a more active suckling reflex in some slower feeding calves.
The use of an easy feeding teat ensures an even milk intake in group fed calves.
This video supplied by Stallion Plastics was filmed over 10 years ago, so we apologise that it is not in high definition, but it is a good example of how calves are reared in New Zealand.