Connect with us

Useful Information


The care and feeding of calves, calves and heifers is one of the most important issues of herd management in dairy farms. The way to obtain a healthy and productive herd is to raise healthy calves, calves and heifers. Cows that have to be weeded out of the herd each year due to reproductive difficulties, udder diseases, old age and death are replaced by newly grown heifers. Normally, a quarter of the herd is weeded each year for various reasons and heifers reared in the enterprise join the herd. Therefore, care and feeding of calves, calves and heifers should be given due importance to ensure the continuity of the herd in a healthy and productive manner. In cattle breeding, calves for 0-4 months old animals, calves for 4-12 months old animals, 


A clean and calm birthing area should be prepared in the barn for the cows that will give birth and the cows should be taken into this section when the birth approaches. After birth, calf boxes should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The following measures should be taken as soon as the calf is born. After birth, juvenile juices and brood membranes adhered to the calf’s mouth and nose are cleaned. It is checked whether the calf is breathing or not, in case of difficulty in breathing, artificial respiration is applied by pressing the chest. 2. Healthy cows lick their chicks to clean and dry them. This licking also creates a massage effect and stimulates the calf’s respiratory and circulatory system. Sometimes cows may not lick their young. In this case, the calves should be dried with a clean and dry cloth. 3. The long umbilical cord is cut with a clean scissors, and microbial contamination is prevented by pouring tincture iodine into it, 4. The septicemia vaccine should be administered as soon as the calf is born. 


Newborn calves are not immune to diseases. A newborn calf can only be immune to diseases by taking the first colostrum after birth. Oral milk contains substances that provide the necessary immunity for the calf to become resistant to diseases. Oral milk should be taken within the first 4 hours. When the calf is born, the amount of colostrum to be consumed at each meal is 5% of their birth weight. Buddha is 2-2.5 kg for large breeds such as Holstein, Montofon and Simmental, and 1-1.5 kg for small breeds such as Jersey and Native breeds. It should be ensured that the calves take the same amount of colostrum 12 hours after taking this first colostrum. 24-36 hours after birth, the level of immune-containing substances in colostrum drops rapidly and approaches normal milk.In addition to providing immunity, colostrum contains more protein, fat, vitamins and minerals than normal milk. The milk sugar (lactose) content of colostrum is lower than normal milk. The high amount of milk sugar in normal milk causes diarrhea in newborn calves. The following points should be taken into consideration in feeding calves with milk 1. Cow milk should be given to calves for the first 3 days. Before the calves suck their mothers, the udders of the cows should be washed with warm water and dried with a clean cloth.2. Calves who cannot suck their mothers by themselves should be helped or milk should be drunk with a bottle.3. 2 days after birth, calves should be separated from their mothers and placed in calf boxes. Milk should be drunk from a bucket or bottle in calf pods. Maximum care should be taken to keep these buckets clean.4. Calves should be monitored at least twice a day and their health and milk consumption should be checked. Calves should consume 8-10% of their live weight of milk per day. In other words, a calf weighing 40 kg should consume 3.5-4.0 kg of milk per day.For newborn calves, it is not necessary to dilute colostrum for the first 3 days and it is not recommended. However, if the stored colostrum is given to calves older than 3 days, it should be diluted up to 2 times.

Calves should consume 500 g of dry matter per day from birth until they are weaned. More colostrum than the newborn calf can consume can be given to other calves on the farm. Considering daily use, colostrum should be stored in the refrigerator if it is to be used in the first two days, and in the deep freezer if it is to be used for a longer period. 


Calves are like monogastric animals from birth to a few weeks of age. The tripe, börkenek and forty bayır from the stomach eyes are not yet functional like those of the adult animal and their sizes are also different. Unlike a mature cattle, in calves, the fourth compartment forms the largest stomach eye from shir. Due to a different structure of the esophagus in calves, during the milk feeding period, the milk consumed by the calf passes directly to the shrub without being rumen. Figure 6.1 shows the digestive systems of a mature cow and a calf whose rumen is not yet developed and during the drinking period. The tripe develops only after consumption of calf starter feeds and quality hay. In order for the digestive systems of the calves to develop, especially the calf starter feeds should be considered by the calves from the 3rd day after birth. In addition, there should be good quality hay, dry clover and clean water in front of the calves. Calves can be fed with whole milk, skimmed milk, sour colostrum, milk substitute feeds and antibiotic milk. FEEDING WITH FULL FAT MILK

Healthy calves can be weaned at 3-4 weeks of age. However, it is necessary not to wean before 8 weeks. Calves are generally fed with milk for 75-90 days in our country. Calves to be weaned should be able to consume at least 500-700 g of calf starter feed per day. In Table 6.1, full-fat milk feeding programs for calves with a live weight of 40 kg are given. FAT-LESS MILK FEEDINGIn order to save on full-fat milk, a decreasing amount of whole milk and increasing amounts of skimmed milk are started to be given to male calves that will be taken into young cattle in the future, between the 2nd and 4th weeks. When skim milk is given, vitamins A, D and E should be added to the calf starter feed. EDGED MILK FEEDING

More colostrum than the newborn calf can consume can be soured and used in feeding calves. However, since the amount of solid substance in colostrum is higher than normal milk, some water should be added while feeding to calves. The following points should be considered in keeping the mouth milk sour. 1. Oral milk to be sprinkled should be stored in plastic drums, not in metal containers. Otherwise, the acids formed in sour colostrum may corrode the metal surface and cause metal poisoning. 2.Mouth milk may turn sour naturally. However, especially in the summer months, natural sour does not give results as desired and colostrum may be too acidic to drink. For this reason, a safe rancidity should be provided by adding some acids. In safe rancidity, 300 g of Formic acid or 700 g of Acetic acid or 100 g of Propionic acid is added to 100 kg of colostrum. 3. Especially in the summer months, the colostrum that has been kept for more than 3-4 weeks and soured colostrum should not be given to calves. 4. While sour milk, it should be mixed twice a day. The colostrum given by souring should be mixed well before being given to the calves. 5. The colostrum is diluted with some water before being given to the calf according to the weight of the calf and the concentration of milk. If dilution is done with hot water at 35-37 oC, it is better consumed by calves. 


Milk substitute feeds are powder feeds used instead of milk. These feeds should be used when they can be obtained cheaper than milk. Before using milk substitute feeds, it should be diluted with water and given to calves and its protein should be 20-22%. The fact that the protein sources in these feeds are from milk and dairy products increases their digestibility. If the protein of the substitute feed is obtained from plant sources such as soy, the protein level should be 22-24% since its digestion will be lower. In a good milk substitute feed, the fat ratio is required to be at least 10%. Since milk cannot be digested by calves, sugar and starch should not be present in milk substitutes. FEEDING WITH ANTIBIOTIC MILK

Milk of cows treated with antibiotics for treatment can be used for feeding calves, as it cannot be sold or otherwise consumed. Milk containing antibiotics can be used by making sour milk like colostrums. However, the milk in the breasts that are treated for mastitis and injected into the breast for this purpose should not be drunk. 


Good quality calf starter feed should be given to the calf from the 3rd day after birth. Early feeding of mixed feeds is more important than giving dry herbs for rumen development.  

A: A and B for calves consuming roughage and weaned after 4 weeks of age; C, for calves consuming roughage and weaned before 4 weeks; D for calves not consuming roughage and weaned before 4 weeks.Mixed feeds stimulate the development of papillae on the rumen surface. Calf starter feeds should be energy-rich, not too finely ground and contain at least 18% crude protein. To increase the consumption of starter feed, grain feeds should be given whole, roughly ground, crushed or crushed. Whole grain feeds, especially oats, can be found in starter feeds and calves can consume whole grain feeds up to 3 months old.The presence of around 5% molasses in starter feeds both increases appetite and prevents pollination in the feed. Calf starter feeds are fed until the calves are 12 weeks old and feed consumption should be limited to 1.5-2 kg per day. 


After the calves are weaned, the calf starter feeds are reduced and calf rearing feeds are started. Calf rearing feeds should be started after 3 months. During this period, calves should consume at least 600-700 g of mixed feed. It should be ensured that the calves consume sufficient mixed feed in the period from weaning until they reach 100 kg live weight. The daily nutritional requirements in this period are given in table 6.3. While feeding calves and calves, a feeding program should be made aiming at the development of the rumen as early as possible.

From the 3rd day, quality and appetizing calf starter feed and clean water should be kept in front of the calves. Care should be taken that the feeds are clean, dry and not moldy. Nutritional values ​​of milk substitute, calf starter and calf rearing feeds are given in table 6.4.


Good quality dried herbs, especially alfalfa hay, are given to the calves from 5-10 days. Silage should not be given to calves before the age of 3 months. Good quality calf starter feeds provide much more energy for calves to grow than top quality hay. Especially in the first 3 months dry hay should not replace calf starter feeds.


Clean water should be available in front of the calves as of the 3rd day. Calves with clean and fresh water in front of them increase their feed consumption and grow faster. Water consumption may increase, especially in summer.

 6.1.7. SNAKE HATS

Most diseases are easily spread among calves kept in the same pod. For this, calves should be kept in individual calf boxes for at least 30 days until they are weaned if conditions are suitable. However, at the end of this period, calves can be kept together in boxes that are not too crowded.

In enterprises where calf deaths and chronic diseases are common, it is recommended to build individual calf huts outside of the barns. Calf huts can be made of materials such as wood, polyester, fiberglass, MDF, galvanized sheet and eternite. In the construction of the huts, it should be preferred to use durable, light, cheap, easy-to-maintain and disinfection simple materials. Calf huts should be placed in places with good drainage, away from barns and paddocks. Care should be taken that the huts do not get too much wind. The huts should be away from the water flowing from the barn roof and ventilation systems. If the area where the huts are placed is flat, in order to prevent flooding, the huts should be set up at a height of at least 15 cm and small gravel-sand should be laid in front of them. In winter, plenty of dry litter should be laid inside the huts, and only dry sand should be laid in summer. Dry sand also helps fight flies. The fact that the huts are at least 115 cm apart prevents the spread of diseases. Calf huts should be open and not covered. Air exchange cannot be provided in huts that are closed.


Errors in care and feeding cause diarrhea in calves. The following measures should be taken to prevent diarrhea.1. Calf boxes should not be overcrowded, there should be at least 2 m2 space per calf. An area of ​​60 x 120 cm should be provided to calves in individual boxes.2. Ventilation should be done well in the calf sections. However, the air flow should not be directly above the calf. Ventilation should be done at short intervals in winter and frequently in summer.3. Calves should not be kept in wet and humid compartments, their bottoms should be cleaned frequently and care should be taken to ensure that the material used as bedding is dry.4. Calves should be fed in a balanced and adequate manner, excessive and irregular feeding should be avoided. Vitamins A, D, E should also be given as soon as the calf is born.5. Colostrum must be given to newborn calves. Calves who cannot suck their mothers should drink colostrum with a bottle.6. Buckets and baby bottles used to feed the calf should be washed after each use, and should be turned upside down so that no water remains in it. 


Recognizing calf diarrhea early and taking immediate action prevents calf losses. If the calf has a mild diarrhea (feed consumption continues, there is no excessive fatigue and fever), it would be beneficial to drink the electrolyte solution.If the calf has diarrhea, the amount of milk and milk replacer given is significantly reduced, even if the diarrhea is severe, it may not be given at all. Only electrolyte is given instead. Electrolyte solutions that are given to the calf can be bought ready-made or prepared at home. The electrolyte is prepared by mixing 4 teaspoons of salt, 3 teaspoons of baking soda, half a cup of granulated sugar, 4 liters of water at 37 oC, and this electrolyte is given 1/10 of the calf’s live weight. 5 kg of this electrolyte is drunk daily for a calf weighing 50 kg. It is more appropriate to give this amount 3-4 times in short intervals. 


The care and feeding of calves and heifers that will become dairy cows in the future is easier and cheaper than dairy cows. During this period, it is necessary to ensure the normal growth of calves and heifers with an economical feeding.Growth should be encouraged by giving sufficient amount of high quality roughage and concentrate feed to breeding calves at an early age. However, foods containing excessive energy should not be given. Because excessive energy causes fat, which negatively affects the development of the mammary glands and creates problems in reproduction. Excessive energy intake also causes calves to reach maturity earlier than they should. For this reason, daily weight gain should be 700-800 g after sucking period and sexual maturity age should be controlled. For this reason, mixed feed consumption of calves should be limited and roughage consumption should be given unlimited. While good quality dried herbs, corn silage, vetch + grain mix silage are given unlimitedly to cows, mixed feed should be given 2 kg per day. If the quality of the hay and silage given is not very good, the mixed feed amount can be increased up to 2.5-3 kg. Calves can benefit from good quality meadows and pastures. However, they must be supported with mixed feed. Ration examples for calves of 150-200 kg live weight are given in Table 6.5.

Copyright Devrekaniyem Yem Fabrikasi 2020