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6 top tips for better calf health (video above)

Everyone must hang their hat somewhere, I am increasingly going back to basics with everything. This is behind my concept of optimizing biology in farming systems. It is no different with calf health.

Beginning with the fundamental understanding of what the calf wants? This means that for a dairy calf we must really know and understand their natural biology to build systems to optimize both biology and performance.

The big challenge calves are born immunoniave (need colostrum). We remove them from their mothers to rear them. The big issue of the day is WHY? Cow-calf separation. In the attached video I explain why I’m currently very happy with this system. This is when after removal we take an approach towards optimizing their biology in rearing systems.

For the next month, I’m getting out to discuss calf rearing with vets around the country.

A lot of the focus will be on these six key areas

  1. Colostrum
  2. Calf comfort
  3. Feeding
  4. Hygiene
  5. Housing
  6. Treatments

Treatments are refining the reactive ones in calf care 101 (like fluid rehydration) and proactive ones like vaccinations.

Watch the attached video where I look at calf signals and finding and removing the bottlenecks.


I am currently working with vets on calf health programs with Nettex. We are talking through proactive approaches to all types of calf systems both beef and dairy. Just looking at simple risk-based systems.

The vet training is to support proactive calf health, systems analysis in calf rearing and a little on human behavior change. It has been such a pleasure for me to get involved in this vet training, some great discussion and ideas.

Nettex is launching its premium colostrum replacer in the Irish market this month. Every farm should focus on maximizing their own herd/cow colostrum quality, but sometimes there may be a need for colostrum replacer. Find out more about when I went to Scotland to look at colostrum gold  https://youtu.be/0UjcE-JS8dc

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