With calves beginning to appear around the country, it is essential we prepare them properly and give them the best possible start in life. New calves or lambs arriving on farms, is a magical sight but you need to keep the cow and the calf’s health in mind as it is a stressful couple of days for both.
Within the first two hours of birth, calves should receive at least three litres of colostrum to ensure adequate passive transfer of antibodies. Navels should be sprayed or dipped with iodine or an alternative to reduce the chance infection or navel complications. The bed calves are lying on should always be kept clean and dry. A good guide for this is kneeling on the straw yourself, if your knees get wet, the bed is too damp for the calves and should be either topped up or replaced.
Feeding in the first few weeks
Calves should be given milk at least twice a day. Milk should be fed in the form of whole milk or milk replacer. If using milk replacer, it should be at least 20% protein to ensure the calf can absorb enough protein. This should be fed alongside a concentrate feed, designed for young calves. The earlier solid feeds are introduced, the earlier rumen development begins. As calves are born with small, non-functional rumens fibre should be introduced within the first few days. That is why we have designed our FibreGold Calf Starter with your calf in mind. Its coarse texture, creates an abrasive effect on the rumen, stimulating rumen development from the first feed. With 19% protein, it will ensure your calves are reaching targeted daily weight gains. With a mix of fibre, protein, carbohydrates and minerals, your calf is guaranteed to be consistently receiving quality feed in every bite. If this rumen development is not maximised in the calf’s early months, it may not absorb its food efficiently throughout life.
To kick start your Spring Calving Season, we are offering customers 5% off all orders placed online.
Use the code SPRING23 on our website, www.kehoefarming.com.