The term “longevity“ in the area of cattle rearing and maintenance is subject to much debate. First, of course, it’s nice when animals get very old. But an old animal isn’t always economical. The evaluation of the “production per day of life” plays a key role here. It describes the amount of milk produced by an animal for the number of days of its life. The production of a Holstein cow should be more than 18 litres per day for the departing animals. Making the animals capable of producing such a high amount for each day of their lives means that the first hours after the calves are born are already highly significant.
Hygiene in the calving stable
Fortunately it is now standard at many farms to supply the calves appropriately after birth. But there is still “room to grow”. Calves must be born into a clean environment. A lack of hygiene at the start of their lives cannot be compensated later. The immune system of a newborn calf isn’t fully formed yet. This means that the calf is not protected against pathogenic agents. This is due to the structure of the placenta. Because of its density in a cow, it doesn’t permit a direct transfer of antibodies (immunoglobulins) from the pregnant cow’s blood circulation to the calf.