Business Farming

Thursday 29 September 2016

How to source the ideal calf this springtime

Published 27/01/2016 | 02:30

The ideal calf should be bright and playful in appearance and its coat needs to be of good condition with no hair loss, dullness or injuries.
The ideal calf should be bright and playful in appearance and its coat needs to be of good condition with no hair loss, dullness or injuries.

Sourcing the right calf from day one will save you a lot of time and money.

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The aim should be to rear healthy animals with minimal mortality and optimal growth rates.

All these factors will be affected by the calf you buy, therefore it is very important to get it right.

There are a number of areas to look at when selecting your calf.

Head

Ensure that the eyes are clear and not sunken in the head.

Nose should be clean with no discharge.

Ears should be alert and not be drooping.

Ears should be well healed at the tag with no puss.

Breathing should be easy, relaxed and not laboured.

Appearance

The calf should be bright, playful and curious about your presence.

Coat needs to be of good condition with no hair loss, dullness or injuries.

There should be no evidence of dehydration.

The navel should be clean, dry and well healed, avoid if it is swollen or seeping.

Ensure normal temperature of 38-39C.

Calves should be a minimum of two weeks old and ideally three to four weeks.

Legs

Animal should be sound on all four feet with no swollen joints or stiffness.

They shouldn`t be slow to stand.

Ensure that calf has a relaxed posture and isn't hunched over.

Eating

They should be keen to drink milk and eat solid food.

Older calves should be checked for rumen fill. They shouldn't be hollow or bloated on the left flank.

Backside

Clean and dry tail with no evidence of scouring.

Not too thin with good body condition.

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