Dairy Farming Manual
What should you know about calf rearing?
you feed your calves?(6-33)
1 Feeding the
the main health problems?(34-53)
2 You should
you keep records of growth?(54-56)
3 Good records
you dehorn your calf?(57-59)
4 You should
know how to:
important in housing? (60-76)
things in housing include:
|How do you feed your calves from birth to weaning?|
|7 If you do
not separate your calf and dam:
- let your calf suckle freely in day 1, the first suckling is within 3 hours after birth
- let your calf suckle 3 times per day in days 2-4.
|8 Each feeding
time is about:
- 25 minutes if housed
- 15 minutes if pastured.
|9 The advantages
of suckling are:
- the milk is at the temperature of the udder
- the stomach does not overfill
- your calf does not get scours through fast drinking
- the milk is clean
- you use no labour
- Zebu breeds sometimes do not let down milk without the calf.
|10 There are
separating your calf and dam at
- less noise and disturbance
- you can easily teach feeding to calves who have not suckled
- you can keep records of consumption.
|11 Nipple feeding is a good way to feed your calves.|
Buckets hang at the right height.
fit over tubes which lead into colostrum in the bucket.
You can also use bucket feeding but nipple feeding is better:
- it is like suckling
- digestion is better.
|14 If you
use bucket feeding, you must teach your calf how to feed:
- hold your calf's head near the colostrum
- put two fingers in your calf's mouth
- lower his head into the colostrum
- when your calf tastes the colostrum remove your fingers and let him drink alone
- repeat until your calf can drink alone.
in nipple or bucket feeding:
- feed colostrum at the temperature of the udder and at the same time each day, this avoids fast drinking, indigestion and scours
- give your calf plenty of clean water
- feed your calves the right amount:
day 1-2 : 0.75-1 l (3-4 x/day)
day 3 : 1-1.5 l (3 x/day)
day 4-7 : 2-3 l (2 x/day)
- do not overfeed your calves
- clean and disinfect all equipment after each feeding.
18 Each day, your calf needs:
- 6 l of whole milk
- concentrates (fed freely) (up to 1/2 kg/day)
- hay (not more than concentrates)
- water (fed freely).
|19 For weeks
2-7 you need a total amount of:
- 250 kg of whole milk
- 11 kg of concentrates
- 5 kg of hay
- a calf needs at least 1/7 of his body weight in water each day.
contain about 20 % protein.
|21 You should
use a good hay
chop it into small pieces to help
|22 Begin feeding
hay to your calves as young as 2 weeks.
|23 You can easily make calf feeders from bamboo and place them in the exercise yard.|
sure your calves get enough water.
In hot climates, each calf may need more than 10 l/day.
water buckets with a holder so your calves can drink all
the water they want.
of whole milk, you can feed your calf milk replacer.
One type you
can make is sour milk:
1/2 l of the sour milk; you can use this instead
citric acid to make the next feed. Sour milk:
- keeps longer, you can make enough for 3 days feed and save labour
- is better for your calf's digestion.
Important: Add a vitamin premix if you use skim milk.
|28 You can
also use milk replacer powder.
It contains skim milk, fish and soya proteins and vegetable fat.
Follow the directions for mixing with water and make sure every thing is clean.
|29 Hang a
mineral lick so that your calves can get the minerals and vitamins
30 From week 8, you can begin to wean your calf off milk:
- reduce the amount of milk week by week
week 8 : 6 kg/day
week 9 : 6 kg/day
week 10 : 4 kg/day
week 11 : 2 kg/day
week 12 : 0 kg/day
|31 At the
same time, increase the amount of:
week 8 800 g 300 g
week 9 1,000 g 350 g
week 10 1,200 g 400 g
week 11 1,400 g 500 g
week 12 1,500 g 600 g
32 After week 12, ration concentrates at 1.5 kg/day and give hay freely.
For weeks 1-16, you need a total amount of:
- 140 kg of milk
- 42 kg of concentrates
- 15 kg of hay
- water freely.
33 Feed your heifers hay and water freely with a mineral lick and 1-2 kg/day of low-protein concentrates such as:
- 25 % cotton seed cake
- 75 % maize bran.
What are the main health problems?
34 Your calf may lack some nutrients and show signs such as:
- rough coat
- change of coat colour
- loss of hair
- enlarged joints.
sure your calf gets:
- enough minerals, vitamins and concentrates
- exercise, fresh air and sunshine.
|36 Your feeding
routine may be poor:
- different time each day
- not enough water.
Your calf will show signs such as:
- lying down
In serious cases, your calf may vomit.
|37 Set up
a good feeding routine by:
- feeding at the same time each day
- feeding more often if your calf is eating too fast
- making sure everything is clean.
If your calf has diarrhoea, act quickly!
- add 9 g of sodium chloride to 1 l of water and feed.
Give no other dry or liquid feed.
39 Mix 1.7 l of milk with 2.6 l of water and divide into 3 parts.
Give 3 times/day.
Mix 2.6 l of milk with 1.7 l of water and divide into 3 parts.
Give 3 times/day and continue each day until your calf is normal.
41 In cases of severe diarrhoea, give an anti-diarrhoea agent.
Consult your vet and follow directions carefully.
|41 In cases
of severe diarrhoea, give an anti-diarrhoea agent.
Consult your vet and follow directions carefully.
Bacterial and virus diseases (See H. 10 and H. 11)
|42 Look out
for signs of:
- navel infections
- diarrhoea with blood or mucus
- coughing and breathing difficulty.
the sick calf in a pen away from the others.
Consult your vet about treatment with disinfectants, anti-diarrhoea agents or antibiotics and follow directions carefully.
your feeding routines:
- colostrum feeding
- enough vitamins and minerals
- good temperature and ventilation
- no overcrowding
- good hygiene.
Parasites (See H. 10.6)
|46 Look out
for signs of:
- digestive trouble
- poor growth
- rough coat.
the sick calf.
Bring a sample of faeces to the vet for analysis.
Follow his directions about treatment carefully.
This will include
a schedule for:
48 Check your housing and grazing routines:
- good hygiene
- no feeding from ground or near wet areas
- moving pastures and no overcrowding
- free from insects.
|49 Give the
right medicine at the right time.
What are the main ways to prevent health problems?
|50 Good feeding of pregnant cows and hygiene during calving.|
51 Early feeding with colostrum and enough hay, concentrates, vitamins and minerals as your calves grow.
dry housing with
- separate sick calves
- do not mix calves of different ages.
injections and sprays given at the right time in consultation
with your vet.
How can you keep records of growth? (See H. 6.2.)
|54 When you separate your calf from the dam, tag the ear.|
55 Weigh your calf at birth and each month after birth, keep a record of weight gain.
Growth should be at least 500 g/day.
|56 If you
cannot weigh your calf,
measure the breast circumference:
Breast Circumference Approx Wght
cm inches kg
70.0 27.6 40.0
85.5 33.6 60.0
95.5 37.6 80.0
104.0 41.0 100.0
111.0 43.5 120.0
117.0 46.0 140.0
122.5 48.2 160.0
127.5 50.2 180.0
132.5 52.2 200.0
137.5 54.1 220.0
142.0 55.8 240.0
147.0 57.8 260.0
158.0 59.8 280.0
150.0 61.4 300.0
159.0 62.6 320.0
162.5 64.0 340.0
165.0 65.0 360.0
168.0 66.3 380.0
171.0 67.4 400.0
How can you dehorn your calf ?
|57 Clip hair away from the horn bud.|
|58 Wipe the bud clean with spirit or a cleansing solution.|
a wooden handled brush into collodion.
Apply a small amount to the horn bud and rub in.
Do not touch the surrounding skin.
After the collodion
is dry apply again without rubbing.
What is important in housing? (See H.3)
Good temperature and ventilation with no drafts.
Separate calf pens to:
disease and parasites
|61 If you
cannot have a separate calf pen:
- tie your calf in the cow shed
- separate your calf from the dam.
Make sure the floor slopes to keep the calf's area dry.
|62 Your calf
needs more space at 8 weeks, than at 4 weeks.
The width of the pen should be more than the calf's shoulder height.
|63 These three pens show examples of structures and measurements.|
|66 You have
little space on your farm.
Design individual calf pens, so you can change them into group pens
|67 or take them to pieces and store them|
|68 leaving only the corner posts.|
|69 Pole holders
hold runners for use as a group pen.
Add dividers for individual pens.
|70 The group
pen leads to an open area for exercise.
The extended roof provides shade and shelter.
the exercise area.
You can use
ropes from palm fibre for tying:
|72 Use ropes in the same way for individual pens.|
|73 These calf
pens have only 1 bucket.
They are suitable
for feeding calves in the first month:
|74 After weaning,
the pen should have 2 buckets:
- one for water (fed freely)
- one for concentrates (fed freely).
Do not mix water and concentrates.
The mixture becomes sour and causes digestive problems.
|75 If you
have no bedding, make a slatted floor to give your calf a dry
Slats should be at right angles to the long side.
This shape allows droppings to pass easily.
Slat to slat distance can be from 20-25 mm.
What do you know about calf rearing ?
Feeding In Week 1, decide on:-suckling (7-9) -separating calf and dam (10) - nipple feeding (11-12) - bucket feeding (13-16)
Week 1 (6-17) Weeks 2-7 (18-29) Weeks 8-16 (30-32) Week: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Day:1-2 3 4 Colostrum/day (kg)
1 1.5 3
(kg) Milk or Milk Replacer/day 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 4 2 Concentrates/day (kg): 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.4 .6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 <-------------------------------------adlib---------------------><---------rationed--------------> (kg) Hay/day 0.1 0.1 0.1 .15 .2 0.3 0.3 .35 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.6
Pen with clean bedding Collective stall with calves of same age Open stable in larger group Heifers-pasture,
Exercise, fresh air, sunshine >
Protect aginst parasites >
Trim hooves Vaccinate heifers against Brucellosis
Tag ears Weigh often >
Record feed consumption