The wrong temperatures land calves in hot water
Using "hot" water to wash plastic calf feeding utensils can add to the spread of infection by welding the residue on to the plastic, said UCD health group vet, Catherine Carty.
In farms where there is a problem the feeding utensils can be a real issue.
"Rinse the buckets first in a warm water, not more than 30 degrees or otherwise the milk residue becomes welded to the plastic and that is a lovely place for the bacteria to live and stay there," says the bovine health management specialist.
"If the residue gets welded to the plastic it can be very hard to get it off," she said.
"After the first rinse they can be soaked in an alkaline detergent with really hot water of 50 degrees plus and get out the brushes and scrub it," she added.
The calving pen is the first place that the calf is exposed to infection after being born.
"Disinfecting at the end of the year is extremely important for the calving pens and calf housing because the risk of infection can be carried over from one year to the next and equally likely to cause infection down the line, so terminal disinfection is very important and can make a difference from one year to the next," she said. She warned that dung around the pen is a carrier of bugs and will prevent disinfectants from working.
It is important to take advice from the herd vet or farm adviser on the best type of disinfectant to use, because some of the commonly used disinfectants are not very effective against cryptosporidiosis, or coccidiosis.