GIV­ING CALVES A SOFT LAND­ING

Irish Independent - Farming - - VETERINARY -

IT is a scary thought, but spring calv­ing is less than 90 days away, so now is the time to start mak­ing plans for what is the busiest time of the year on many farms.

Many farms rou­tinely vac­ci­nate against ro­tavirus, coro­n­avirus and e-coli.

This is one of the more ex­pen­sive vac­cines on the mar­ket, but when you think of the po­ten­tial cost of an out­break of scour, the ben­e­fit far out­weighs the cost.

Hous­ing fa­cil­i­ties for calves is be­com­ing a big is­sue on farms of late.

Herds are ex­pand­ing and in many cases, there is lit­tle pro­vi­sion be­ing made for the in­evitable in­creased num­ber of calves need­ing to be ac­com­mo­dated.

If an out­break of scour oc­curs in houses that are very much over­stocked, the spread of dis­ease will be much quicker and ul­ti­mately, the cost of the dis­ease out­break will be much higher.

Sim­i­larly, too many calves shar­ing the same airspace results in ideal con­di­tions for the spread of pneu­mo­nia-caus­ing viruses and bac­te­ria.

Straw is both scarce and costly this year, so many farms hav­ing much less of it in stock.

I have heard of some peo­ple dis­cussing the use al­ter­na­tive prod­ucts such as peat to bed calves this com­ing spring.

It would be very much worth­while to seek ad­vice on the pros and cons of al­ter­na­tive bed­ding prod­ucts be­fore mak­ing a pur­chase.

It would also be use­ful to carry out an au­dit of your calf houses now.

Ven­ti­la­tion, space re­quired per calf and drainage are all things that you can as­sess.

Now is the time of year to do this so that if re­quired, changes can be made to help pre­vent prob­lems in the spring.

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