Top 5 tips to reduce parasite issues with dairy calves
Type Media Article
Moving calves from a milk based diet indoors to a grass based diet outdoors can create problems. Martina Gormley, Niamh Field & Donal Patton have some tips on how to avoid issues.
1. Allow for a smooth transition period
Transitioning calves from a milk based diet indoors to a grass based diet outdoors can be tricky. Calves that are going to lush grass for the first time after being weaned can have digestives upsets in the first few weeks post turnout. To minimise this, calves should be fed stronger grass plus straw and concentrates for 3- 4 weeks post turnout.
2. Rotational grazing
To prevent worm build up calves should be moved every 3 days. Calves in the first summer will initially have an intake of 2.5kg per day and by the time of housing this will have increased to 5kg. If you have 3o calves @ 3kg for 3 days then you need 270kg grass DM. If you are grazing 1200kg/dm/ha, your water troughs and field divides will need to be at every 0.25/ha.
3. Taking out silage & reseeding
Taking out paddocks at different stages throughout the grazing season for calves is a really good way to reduce worm build up in paddocks. Ideally the heifer grazing block should be at a stocking rate that allows for paddocks to be taken out throughout the summer. Reseeding is another great way to reduce parasite build up.
4. Monitoring animal health
Monitoring parasite burdens in calves with pooled faecal sample testing and dosing when worm burden is above 200 eggs per gram is advisable. Weighing calves will help identify suboptimal daily gains early and can also indicate health issue
5. Discuss the plan with your vet
Your vet is an important part of the overall solution to reducing parasite issues with your replacement heifers. Having your vet walk through your stock and see your paddocks is an excellent why to create the correct plan
Further information can be found at http://animalhealthireland.ie/?page_id=445