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The Simple 1-2-3 of Calf Rearing

The first of four Calf Care Open Days took place on the farm of Kevin and Mairead Heavin, Fearaghalee, Belmont, Co. Offaly, yesterday, Tuesday, 21st January. Up to 200 farmers attended the event, which was organised by Teagasc, Animal Health Ireland (AHI) and Volac.

The take home message for farmers to help them, protect the health of their calves was as simple as 1,2,3.
1. Use colostrum from the 1st milking for the 1st feed
2. Give colostrum within 2 hours from the calf’s birth
3. Give at least 3 litres of colostrum

“Colostrum is essential to protect the health of new born calves. The first feed should be given within two hours of birth and should be a minimum of 3 litres,” according to Muireann Conneely, Teagasc Moorepark.

Ingrid Lorenz from UCD had valuable advice for farmers attending on managing scouring calves.
1. Remove sick calves from the group
2. Rehydrate with up to 5 litres of electrolytes
3. Continue to feed milk

The host farmer feeds up to 6 litres of milk replacement per day until calves reach 100 kilos live weight. This ensures calves get off to a good start and this is reflected in the weights of his yearling heifers and culminates in replacement dairy heifers calving down at 550 kilograms.

Three more Teagasc, Animal Health Ireland, Volac Calf Care Open Days will take place during this week;

  • Wednesday, 22nd January, Declan Murphy, Newpark, Effin, Co. Limerick
  • Thursday, 23rd January, John Walsh, Ahamonister, Timoleague, Co. Cork
  • Friday, 24th January, Andy Feeney, Big Ballivor, Ballivor, Co. Meath