Pak Dairy Info
Pakistan's 1st Online Dairy Farming Guide

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Contents

Introduction

Breeds

Selection of Animals

Farm Building

Management

Record Keeping

Sanitation & Hygiene

Nutrition

Reproduction

Breeding

Health

Body Condition Scoring

Milk Quality

Feasibility

Terminologies

Directory

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Management of Calf after Birth

After parturition, calf management is very necessary because 50% mortality of newborn calves occur due to mismanagement. Important steps are listed below:

  • After their birth, calf should preferably be removed immediately from their dams.

  • Clean the mucous from the nostrils and mouth cavity and make sure that calf’s respiration is normal. If it is not normal, perform artificial respiration. Artificial respiration can be performed by alternately applying and releasing pressure on the rib cage of calf. Respiration can also be stimulated by inserting the handle of a small, clean spoon about two inches upto the nostrils of the calf and rotating it to stimulate the nerves. Use finger if spoon is not available but never use a stick as it can damage the nostrils. Respiratory stimulants should be used only as a last resort, since subsequently they act to depress respiration.


 
  • Cut the navel cord leaving 3-6 inches part from the body and dip it in tincture iodine twice a day until it dries. Dipping helps dry the cord and  protects from infection. The stump should be rechecked for infection during the first 3 days after birth.

navel cord of calf

  • Dry the body of the calf especially in winter to prevent from chilling, hypothermia, and pneumonia that leads to death of the calf. Dry with any clean cloth. This will also stimulate the general blood circulation.

  • Record the weight of the calf

  • Feed colostrum at rate of 10% body weight within 24 hours (half amount within first hour and other half amount later).  The placenta of buffaloes and cows is impermeable for maternal antibodies. Therefore, postnatal transmission via small intestinal absorption is the only source of passive immunity for the newborn calf. The failure of postnatal transmission of maternal antibodies results in:

▪  Mortality rates higher than 50%

▪  Long term impairments of health and production for the survivors

▪  Between birth and weaning (including stillbirths), mortality rate for calves varies from 20 to 25%,
     with many deaths directly attributable to lack of maternal antibodies during the first day of life

▪  Additional costs are associated with the increased morbidity and decreased productivity

▪  Calves with lower levels of passive immunity have decreased growth rates

  • Colostrum feeding should be continued for three to four days. Overfeeding of cololstrum causes diarrhea which may predispose the calf to other diseases. Overfeeding can be checked only by feeding a weighed amount of colostrum to the calf using a bottle with nipple.

colostrum feeding to calf with bottle

  • Male calves are usually sold out at the age of 3 days

 


  Colostrum 

Colostrum is defined as the secretion from the mammary gland of mammals during the first/few days after parturition. Secretions from the udder of dairy animals for one day after calving are commonly called as colostrum. Secretions produced on the second and third day postpartum are referred to as transition milk. The first six milkings from fresh dairy animals are considered colosturm for milk marketing purposes and should not be sold. However the most important colostrum for the newborn calf is the first milking. The transition from colosturm to milk is rapid process with dramatic composition changes during first few hours postpartum. The advantages of colostrums feeding are:

  • Compared with normal milk, first milking colostrum has fiftyfold higher concentration of antibodies. So colostrums provide passive immunity to calf.

  • Colostrum also provides energy which is critically important to the newborn, especially for the first day of life.

  • The lactose concentration in colostrum is much lower than that of true milk. This characteristic is biologically important because lactase is not present in the small intestine during the first day of life and a high intake of lactose causes diarrhea in the calf. The low levels of lactose therefore allow high intakes of colostrum during the first day, thereby optimizing passive immunity.

  • A concentrated source of growth factors is also furnished by colostrum.

  • Colostrum feeding also give some laxative effect and help removing the muconium from intestine.

Composition of colostrum of cow is given below:

Item

First milking

Second milking

Third milking

Fourth milking (almost milk)

Specific gravity

1.056

1.040

1.0235

1.032

Total solids %

23.9

17.9

14.1

12.9

Fat %

6.7

5.4

3.9

3.7

Protein %

14.0

8.4

5.1

3.1

Casein %

4.8

4.3

3.8

2.5

Lactose

2.7

3.9

4.4

5.0

Vitamin A

2950 mg/litre

1900 mg/litre

1130 mg/litre

340 mg/litre

Vitamin D IU/g fat

0.9-1.8

-

-

-

Riboflavin mg/ml

4.8

2.7

1.9

1.5

Chlorine mg/ml

0.70

0.34

0.23

0.13

Ig G mg/ml

48.0

25.0

15.0

0.6


Text Box:   Biosecurity of Young Calves 

The most important components of a calf biosecurity plan can be summed up in two concepts given bellow:

Boost up Immunity:

  • Excellent colostrum management constitutes the cornerstone of an effective calf biosecurity program.

  • Because of the immaturity of the neonatal immune system and the inhibiting effects of maternal antibodies on endogenous antibody production, vaccines are generally ineffective prior to 4 months of age.

  • Colostrum-deprived calves can be intravenously infused with exogenous sources of bovine immunoglobulins to provide some support to the immune system.

  • Preventing dehydration is important to allow the immune system to function properly.

  • Proper nutrition is also important to allow the immune system to respond fully to a pathogenic challenge.

Controlling Exposure to Pathogens:

  • Minimizing contacts and improving sanitation are critical in controlling pathogen exposure in young calves.

  • Calves born in a dirty environment become easy victims to pathogen exposure, therefore maternity stall should be clean and well-disinfected before a calf is born there.

  • The choice of bedding and adequacy of bedding throughout the preweaning period are important.

  • Calves should be housed in a well-ventilated and well-drained area in individual pens. Well-ventilated housing is important for calves since they are highly susceptible to respiratory pathogens.

  • Adequate space between calves is important to minimize calf-to-calf transmission of airborne pathogens.

  • Raising calves on elevated stalls or on gravel without bedding allows faecal pathogens to be removed from the immediate environment frequently and thoroughly. However, where housing requires bedding, the place must be kept dry, sanitary and well-bedded, especially when disease outbreaks occur.

  • Caretakers of calves and other people interacting with calves must observe good hygiene.

  • Calf caretakers should avoid spreading pathogens to other areas of the farm or from calf to calf

  • Calf-raising areas should be isolated from other animals on the farm and drainage should flow in a direction away from the calf-housing.

  • Calves should be moved to their new environment as soon as they are completely dried after birth, unless environmental conditions are extremely unfavourable.

Vaccination & Deworing:
For FMD and HS: First injection at age of one month, second injection at the age of 1.5 month, then the repeat after six months of second injection.
Vaccination of brucellosis should be done at the age of 4-7 months. Deworming of calf should be done at the age of 2-3 weeks and then after every three months. 

 

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