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InTouch | Calves: start as you mean to progress

Calves: start as you mean to progress

Calves: start as you mean to progress

As we move into a new year, we begin a new cycle on the farm. For spring calvers, preparations are beginning for welcoming the new calves onto the farm. While issues felt like a blur at the time, now is the time to take stock of the situation and see whether last year’s spring was a success or not from a calf point of view.

To measure if your current calf programme is working correctly, you need to ask yourself the following questions for your farm:  



What % of calf fatalities occur in the calving pen?


What % of calf fatalities occur in the first 30 days?


What % of animals were treated with antibiotics?


How many litres of milk are fed per calf per day?

15% of BW

What is your decision to wean a calf based on?

Double BW + 10% Concentrate intake 1.5 kg


The key issue areas are outlined below and explained in detail in this article ‘Successful calf rearing: From birth to weaning’:

  1. Colostrum
  2. Early nutrition
  3. Environment
  4. Rumen development and immunity

Double-checking your dry cow condition and making sure they are getting their actual diet and required levels of minerals is crucial. Having a healthy cow and good calving event on a good diet will get you well on the way to driving immunity to the calf. Without this, you will be struggling with this vulnerable animal.

Once the calf is born, outside of colostrum/milk feeding, which is essential, the use of a concentrated calf mix is important for driving rumen development. This can be key to bringing this developing animal from a pre-ruminant to a ruminant on grass.

For more information or to speak with a nutritionist contact InTouch on +353 (0)59 9101320.