14 tips for newborn calf management in 24 hours

Newborn Calf Management 

Critical things you need to do in the first 24 hours after a calf is born:

A calf is tomorrow’s cow. From the health point of view, the life of a bovine is divided into two parts; the first 24 hours, and the rest.

The first 24 hours of life of a calf is so important that it has a strong bearing on the rest of its life.

calf management

A calf which is not provided adequate care in the first 24 hours may succumb to diseases or will always remain weak and an under-performer, even though it has good genetic potential and is provided a good environment.

Important points to remember:

1. Clean nostrils and mouth which helps the calf breathe better and help prevent future breathing problems.

2. Allow the mother to lick the calf clean which promotes circulation within the calf’s body and prepares the calf to stand up and walk.

3. Cut the navel cord at a distance of around 2 inches from the base with a clean instrument.

4. Dip the navel (a simple smearing will not serve the purpose) in 3.5% or higher tincture of iodine solution ensuring a minimum contact time of at least 30 seconds.

5. Tie the exposed end of the cord with a clean thread to close the opening.

6. Repeat navel dipping after 12 hours. A poorly maintained navel is the gateway to serious infections.

7. A new born calf should be given 2 litres of colostrum within the first 2 hours of birth and 1-2 litres (based on size) within 12 hours of birth.

8. Many calves do not nurse adequate amounts of colostrum from their dams within the first few hours of life, and thus they may not receive adequate immunity.

9. Feeding colostrum after 24 hours of birth may not help the calf to ward off infections.

10. A calf must receive adequate colostrum to protect it from diseases for the first three months of its life. Colostrum is the calf’s “passport to life”.

11. Hand-feeding new-born calves is therefore recommended so that the farmer is sure about the amount of colostrum an individual calf receives.

12. De-worming should be done within 10-14 days of age subsequently on a monthly basis up to the 6th month.

13. When the animal is 3 months old, contact the veterinarian for vaccination.

14. Provide calf starter from 2-8 weeks for better growth and early maturity.

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