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When bucket feeding of calves care should be taken

Calves meaning: A calf (plural calves) is a young domestic cow or bull. Calves are reared to become adult cattle or are slaughtered for their meat, called veal, and hide.

Calves can be weaned from milk when they are eating daily 1.5 to 2 pounds of starter (Holsteins) for three days in a row. Thus, calves should not be weaned based on age but rather on the basis of their intake of starter. Some calves can be weaned at four weeks of age, whereas others may be up to 10 weeks of age.

When bucket feeding of calves care should be taken

• Feeding excess milk to the calf can cause scouring. If scouring occurs, reduce the amount of milk and feed water separately. Wait with feeding water for at least one hour after feeding milk

• Give the calf its milk immediately after milking when the milk is at body temperature or heat the milk to body temperature. Heating up can be done by “bain marie” method – bucket with milk in a bucket with heated water to exchange heat. NEVER MIX WATER AND MILK.

• Observe strict cleanliness and hygiene to prevent scouring and other disease problems

• From the second week, provide the calf with clean drinking water at all times. Never mix milk with water!

• From the second week start introducing small amounts of solid feeds, such as dairy meal (or ideally calf feeds) and good quality hay. Feed young calves a total diet of about 20% CP. Refresh the solids every feeding.

• If the solids do not contain (sufficient) minerals, hang a mineral lick where the calf can get the minerals it needs.

Read Also: The Reproductive Rate of Cattle

Now let us look at other areas of Calf (Calves) care which are neccessary for the general perfomance of your livestock.

Care of calf and cow at birth

A few days before the probable date of calving, cow should be transferred to individual calving pens. Preferably 1 to 2 weeks before the expected calving date. The number of calving pens required on a farm depends on the number of breedable cows and heifer, generally 5 per cent of this number.

Ample amount of drinking water, laxative feed and generous supply of bedding may be provided. The calving pen should be scrupulously cleaned and sterilized before brining in the cow.

Antiseptic solution like tincture Iodine or Povidone iodine, thread, scissors, lubricants like liquid paraffin, vegetable oils, obstetrical equipment like hook, snare, calf puller, wire saw; emergency drugs like local anesthetics, antibiotics, analgesic, calciumboroglugonate, other items like emergency light, towel, soap, buckets, aprons etc. should be made available in all time in the calving pen.

In villages or farmers those who are maintaining only one or two animals must tie the animal in advanced stage of pregnancy separately under visibility.

It must be protected from predators. The floor should be dry and clean and having clean grass cover is essential. The cow should not be tethered too close, it must be tied with sufficient rope so that animal can move freely and care the new born easily during night time when calving is unnoticed.

If any abortion, calves should be examined thoroughly to ascertain the possible cause for abortion (age of the foetus, condition, necrotic foci if any etc). In such case the calving pen should be thoroughly sterilized with 4 per cent caustic soda.

Read Also: Best Management Practices for Mother Pigs after Weaning (Dry Sow)

Calving pen

It is a individual loose box or stall used for calving, which should be 3 m x 4 m size (12 m2) and well ventilated. Sufficient lighting is essential. It provided better protection to the cow and calf and avoids disturbances from other cows. Special attention can be provided for which attendant quarters may be nearer to calving pen. Attendant quarters may be established nearer to calving pen to monitor calving process during night time.

Management immediately after calving

Udder and hind quarter should be washed with lukewarm water containing an antiseptic solution of potassium permanganate lotion and dried with clean cloth. Cows may be milked to relieve the pressure from the udder If day old weaning is not practiced the calf can be allowed to remain with the mother in the calving pen for 7 to 10 days.

Otherwise the calves can be removed immediately to calf pen. The maternal instinct is more, cow’s eyes can be blindfolded before the calf is removed. The placenta is to be expelled within 12 to 24 hours after parturition. if it is not expelled in 24 hours, seek the help of a Veterinarian be removed manually.

Before manual removal the body temperature should be noted. In case of pyrexia, attempt should be made systemically to reduce fever. Otherwise systemic infection may establish. The cow should be monitored carefully for signs of any metabolic disorders like milk fever, grass tetany, Ketosis, acidosis and should be treated immediately.

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