The basics include banal things like light, air, water, available space, hygiene and adequate nutrition. There have been many reports about appropriate nutrition in the recent past and the experts agree. The farm’s own calves should get an intensive milk supply in the first four weeks (at least 10 litres of milk feed per day). In the feed production, the energy content of the daily milk feed has to cover at least the maintenance need of the purchased calves (at least 1 kilogram of milk replacer per day).
Instead of using an antibiotic therapy, farmers can use a probiotic method against diarrhoea pathogens. Contamination with cryptosporidium and bacteria can be countered with selected phytogenic additives. We can recommend products from the Miravit range, for example Miravit Kryptosan. And boiled linseed still shows its positive effects in Miravit CelluLin.
Pay attention to the water quality
A stable with a lot of light (about 500 lux for 16 hours) promotes food intake. This is usually no problem in the summer. But what about the lighting programme in the winter months? It must be kept in mind that ruminants eat much less in darkness. Multiple troughs per group supply impeccable water to the calves. It is important that the water quality and flow rate of the troughs are known. A lack of water limits feed intake. A calf doesn’t stand in line to drink water, it resigns itself very quickly.
When it comes to hygiene, one question has to be asked: cleaning products or just high-pressure cleaner with cold water before disinfection? Keep this in mind – a disinfectant doesn’t have grease-removing properties, which makes it essential to use a cleaning product. In group rearing, each calf should have an area of at least three square meters available. That is why it must be considered how many calves are placed in the stable and how large the stable is. Calves also live in a ranking and the weakest ones sometimes want to retreat.