1. Be sure the calf is born in

1.      Be sure the calf is born in a clean and dry environment. The maternity area is the calf’s first exposure to pathogens. At the time of birth, a calf does not have a fully active immune system and does not have a defense to fight off pathogens and infections. Any equipment used at this time on the calf or its mother needs to be clean, disinfected and dry.

 

2.      The calf’s navel needs to be dipped with 7 percent iodine as soon as possible after its birth. The navel should be redipped 12 to 18 hours later.  The umbilical cord and the surrounding area, along with the navel, need to be covered with the iodine. This is done to prevent pathogens and bacteria from entering the calf, helping to avoid infections and hernias.

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3.      Colostrum is to be fed to the calf as soon as possible (less than three hours after birth).

·        Holsteins should be fed 4 quarts within the first three hours.

·        Jerseys require 2 quarts within the first three hours.

·        An additional 2 quarts should be fed to both Holsteins and Jerseys 12 hours after the initial colostrum feeding.

 

4.      If colostrum is left over after the second feeding, discard it; do not feed it to the calf or any other animal.

 

5.      Do not mix colostrum from different cows. Keep colostrum from one cow separate from another. If storing colostrum (refrigerated for immediate use and frozen for future use), do not mix.    

 

6.      Do not feed newborns (day-old calves) with any sort of hospital milk, or milk in general. Their only meal for day one should be colostrum.

 

7.      Keep newborn calves in personal, individual pens as soon as possible. Keep calves isolated for as long as possible while on the bottle. This is done to avoid exposure of the calf to new pathogens and to prevent cross contamination between calves.

 

8.      Always create a stress-free environment for calves as much as possible, especially within the first few days of life. Stressed animals will absorb fewer immunoglobulins from the colostrum, resulting in a greater probability of illness. Stressors on calves include:

·        Environment

o   Temperature, including both hot and cold conditions, and drafts in winter months

o   Dirty housing conditions

o   Flies

·        Management

o   Dirty equipment

o   Inconsistent feeding times

o   Pen moves 1.      Always reduce the amount of exposure to pathogens for the calf. Be sure bedding, housing, water and feed buckets, along with all equipment used on calves, is clean and disinfected. Good ventilation in the calf-raising area will help to reduce pathogens. Regularly add clean, dry bedding to the hutch to keep the area dry, which will help to keep the pathogen load down. 2.      In summer months, air flow is extremely important to calves. Be sure that air flow is not stagnant in the hutch. Raising the hutch off the ground a few inches can help generate air flow.   3.      After weaning the calf off the bottle, keep the calf in the hutch for at least one week before moving to a group pen. This will reduce the amount of stress for the calf. Group pens need to contain around five to 10 animals. The smaller the number, the better it will be for the calf, as it will be less stressful during the calf’s  first social encounter. A smaller group will also help the calf raiser to better identify sick animals..  4.      After the calf is weaned from milk and moved out of the hutch, the hutch must be cleaned. Pressure wash the hutch if possible, and utilize a disinfecting agent. Remove soiled bedding and do not replace the hutch in the same area until the ground has had a minimum of two weeks of exposure to direct sunlight and air, which will cause potential pathogens to die off. 5.      If feeding hospital milk, do not let it sit around at room temperature; use it immediately after pasteurizing it.   6.      When pasteurizing milk, be sure the recommended temperatures and time periods are met. After it is pasteurized, let milk cool to about 102 degrees Fahrenheit and feed it at that temperature. (A cow’s body temperature is 102 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it the optimal temperature for feeding.)  7.      Clean and disinfect the pasteurizer and all other equipment after every use.  8.      When handling calf equipment, during cleaning or feeding, be sure to wear rubber gloves. Use hot water at a minimum of 140 degrees Fahrenheit along with a disinfecting agent when washing all calf equipment. (If water is cooler than 140 degrees Fahrenheit, milk solids can attach to surfaces and are not easily washed away.) Be sure to brush equipment during washing. Brushing will enable penetration of the biofilm that protects pathogens from disinfectants. When chlorine is used, let the equipment soak for at least two to three minutes.  9.      If using additives in milk (for example, Acid-Pak 4-Way 2X ®, Bio-Mos® or Natustat®), follow the recommended 

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