Tips: Sourcing the right stock is half the battle with calf to beef systems
Sourcing the right calf on day one will save you a lot of time and money.
The aim should be to rear a healthy animal 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.
The following guidelines should be considered when selecting your calf.
- Calves should be a minimum of two weeks old and ideally three to four weeks of age
- Buy from a reputable source
- Ideally select from as few of sources as possible
- Select calves with known histories of colostrum intake, vaccination status, herd health status, etc
- Keep transport distances as short as possible to reduce calf stress
- 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 pus
- Breathing should be easy, relaxed and not laboured
- 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 38-39°C
- 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