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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

Department of Animal Science


Dairy Cattle Production 342-450

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

Goals for a successful calf management system 1- Building the immune system of the calf as soon as possible after birth. 2- Reduce stress and microbial challenges to the calf. 3- Provide adequate nutrition 4- Provide proper treatments for sick calves.

Immediate care of the calf after birth 1- Clean away mucous from the nose and the mouth. 2- Make sure that breathing is initiated, especially after difficult birth. This can be done by tickling the nose or by pouring cold water on the calf's head, which causes the grasping reflex in the calf 3- Examine the calf for injuries and birth defects. 4- Dry the calf if the cow is not allowed to do so (e.g. in case of Johne's disease). 5- Feed ample amounts of colostrum as soon as possible within the first hour after birth. Use a nipple bottle if necessary. Provide a second feeding within 12 hours of birth. 6- Separate the calf from the cow within the first 12 hours of birth after the cow has dried the calf and the calf has nursed. Separate the calf immediately after birth if there is any concern of infectious diseases such as Johne's disease. 7- Dip or coat the navel with 7% tincture of iodine. 8- Make sure the calf in properly identified.

Feeding Colostrum Colostrum is the first secretion produced by the mammary gland of cows after calving. It is a rich source of protein, fat, minerals and antibodies. The total protein and fat in colostrum are higher while the lactose is lower than in milk (Table 1). Colostrum contains nearly twice as much total solids as milk. This is attributed mainly to its higher protein content (about fourfold) than milk. Most of the increase content in protein content is accounted for by the more than 56-fold increase in immunoglobulin (Ig) content (Table 2). Colostrum of the first milking contains about 6% Ig. The Ig content then decreases by about 30 and 70% in the second and third milking, respectively. The cow's milk contains less than 0.1% Ig. The Igs are not produced in the mammary gland but passes from the mothers blood into the milk prior to parturition. The IgG are transferred from blood into the mammary gland and accumulate during late gestation. Transfer of Igs into colostrum is largely completed before calving, therefore

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

premilking cows or extensive leakage of colostrum from the udder results in loss of Ig and lower Ig concentration after calving.
Table 1. Composition of colostrum, transitional milk and milk. Time after calving Casein Globulin Fat Lactose % % % % At once 5.00 11.07 6.55 2.90 6 hours 3.50 6.60 7.82 3.29 12 hours 3.12 2.86 4.10 3.88 18 hours 3.00 2.14 4.00 3.75 24 hours 2.61 1.91 3.64 3.82 36 hours 2.86 1.32 3.58 3.68 72 hours 2.77 1.10 3.52 4.41 5 days 2.74 1.00 3.55 4.79 10 days 2.62 0.68 3.57 4.92 Table 2. Types of colostral immunoglubulins Ig class Proportion of total (%) IgG 85-90 IgM 7 IgA 5

Ash % 1.22 0.97 0.88 0.85 0.85 0.84 0.84 0.83 0.82

Total solids % 26.74 22.18 14.84 13.74 12.83 12.10 12.64 12.91 12.61

Function Systemic immunity Early immunity and prevention of septicemia Not clear

Colostrum is also a rich source of most mineral and vitamins. Several growth factors (e.g. insulin-like growth factors I & II, epidermal growth factor, and nerve growth factor) as well as hormones (e.g. insulin, cortisol and thyroxin). These growth factors and hormones may stimulate the development of the gastrointestinal tract and other systems in the newborn calf.

Passive Immunity Transfer Newborn calves have no disease protection, as blood antibodies can not cross the placental barrier from the cow to the calf. Thus the newborn calf is completely dependent on the immunoglobulin (Ig) passed from its mother via colostrum. The acquisition of Ig through gut absorption is known as passive transfer. A unique characteristic of the small intestine of the newborn calf is the ability to absorb large protein molecules such as Ig. However, this capacity only lasts for the first 24 to 36 h of life. The loss of this capacity is known as closure of the gut. Thus it very important that the absorption of sufficient amount of Ig to provide the calf with passive immunity occurs by the time gut closure in completed. The digestive tract of the new-born calf has several characteristics to minimize digestion of the Ig protein and thus to ensure the absorption of intact Ig: 1- Lack of retention of Ig in the stomach.

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

2- Bovine colostrum contains trypsin inhibitor that has greater inhibitory effects on trypsin but not chymotrypsin. This helps protecting Ig and other antimicrobial proteins without affecting the digestion of other protein in the colostrums, which are important sources of amino acids for the calf. Most of the Igs in colostrum are of the IgG class, particularly IgG1 (80-90% of the total IgG). Optimal protection occurs when all classes of Ig are present together in the colostrum. Studies have shown that classes of Ig administered individually were not effective in preventing diseases in newborn calves.

Feeding colostrum Calves should receive colostrum in an amount equivalent to 8-10% of their weight with 12 h after birth. A minimum of 2 liters should be removed and fed to the calf with 30 minutes of birth to ensure desired intake has occurred. The second meal should be fed with 6-9 hours after birth. On average, the calf should receive 3-4 meals of colostrum with the first 24 hours of life. Recent data showed that the quality (measured as the concentration of IgG in the colostrum) and not the quantity of colostrums that should be main factor to be considered when feeding colostrum. The amount of colostrum a calf needs to provide adequate immunity depends on: Calf body weight. Concentration of antibodies in the colostrum Time elapsed between birth and first feeding Level of infectious agents in the environment
Serum IgG>10 mg/mL Serum IgG<10 mg/mL
Calf surviving (%)

100 98 96 94 92 90
0 10 20 30 40 50
Calf age (days)

Effects of IgG levels on survival rate of newborn calves

In most cases colostrum is milked from the cow and the calf is fed through nipple bottle or a bucket. Colostrum should be warmed to body temperature (39 C) in a water bath before feeding. If the calf is unable or unwilling to suckle, an esophageal feeder should be used. A survey in the US showed that 64% of producers use bucket or bottle to feed colostrum while about 33% rely on nursing.
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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

Excess colostrum can be refrigerated (up to one week) or can be frozen (up to a year) without loosing Ig content or activity. Frozen colostrum should be thawed in warm water to avoid denaturing the Ig protein. Excess colostrum and transit milk (secretion produced during the 3rd to the 6th milkings after parturition) can be fed to calves after the first day.

Determination of Colostrum Quality Colostrum quality can be determined using on-farm devise called colostrometer. The device is a hydrometer calibrated to take advantage of the linear relationship between colostrum specific gravity and Ig concentration. The colostrometer classifies colostrum as poor (red) with less than 22 mg Ig/mL, moderate (yellow) with 22-50 mg Ig/mL and excellent (green) with greater than 50 mg Ig/mL. Because colostrometer reading is highly dependent on temperature, colostrum should be tested under standard conditions (room temperature 20-25 C). The main disadvantage of colostrometer is its low cut-off point. In order for the standard feeding (2 liters) to provide 100 g of IgG, the cutoff of the colostrometer should be increased to from 50mg/mL to 110 mg/mL.

Testing for Immunity Transfer The best indication of a successful transfer of passive immunity is plasma or serum Ig concentration. A passive immunity transfer in considered successful when the plasma Ig concentration is 10 g per liter. Failure of passive transfer in indicated by a blood concentration of Ig of less than 10 g per liter at 48 hours of age. However, a concentration of 15 g per liter is more desirable.

To ensure a successful passive transfer, a 100 g of IgG must be consumed immediately after birth. This amount is based on the following assumptions: 1- Plasma volume of the calf is 6.5% of body weight. 2- A newborn calf weighs and average of 40 kg. 3- Average absorption efficiency of Ig is 25%. The amount of colostrum needed to supply a 100 grams of Ig will depend on the quality of the colostrum: - From a good quality colostrum (60 g/L of Ig) the amount will be 100/60 = 1.7 L. - From a low quality colostrum (35g/L of Ig) the amount will be 100/35 = 3 L.
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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

Milk Replacers Development of milk replacers began in the early 1950s in order to make use of surplus milk powder and products and to conserve fluid milk for retail use. At 4-6 days of age. Milk replacers usually contain less fat and thus less energy than whole milk. Common ingredients in commercial milk replacers include milk byproducts, particularly whey. Other milk byproducts used include whey protein concentrate, delactosed whey, dried skim milk and casein. Alternative protein include soy, wheat and potato protein concentrates. Skim milk and butter milk are not usually included in the milk replacers due to their cost. The primary protein source in most milk replacers is whey, which well digested and utilized by calves.

The quality of milk replacers is quite variable from one product to another. The lower-cost milk replacers contain alternative proteins (usually of plant origin) that might have negative effects on the health and performance of young calves (< 3 weeks of age). The following point should be considered when buying a milk replacer: - The reputation of the manufacturer. - The chemical composition of the product. - Ingredients included in the products. Milk replacers usually contain more than 50% dehydrated skim milk (dry matter basis). Milk replacers should also contain at least 20% protein (22 to 24% if the replacer contains plant proteins). This is in attempt to compensate for the reduced digestibility and utilization of amino acids from plant proteins. Fat contain of milk replacers should be a minimum of 10%. However, higher fat content (1520%) is needed when replacers are fed to vealers and calves housed in hutches or in cold environment. Chemical composition of a typical replacer is shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Recommended nutrient content in milk replacer Nutrient Concentration Crude protein (%) 22.0 Fat (%) 10.0 Macrominerals Calcium (%) 0.70 Phosphorous (%) 0.60 Magnesium (%) 0.07 Potassium (%) 0.60 Sodium (%) 0.10 Chloride (%) 0.20 Sulfur (%) 0.29 Microminerals Iron (mg/kg) 100.0 Cobalt (mg/kg) 0.10 Copper (mg/kg) 10.0 Manganese (mg/kg) 40.0

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management Zinc (mg/kg) Iodine (mg/kg) Selenium (mg/kg) Vitamins Vitamin A (IU/kg) Vitamin D (IU/kg) Vitamin E (IU/kg) 40.0 0.25 0.30 3800 600 40.0

To encourage, early consumption of milk calf starter, calves can be limit-fed all-milk replacers containing 18% protein. However, milk replacers should contain more than 18% protein (20 to 24%) when calves are fed ad libitum amounts of milk replacer for maximum daily gain.

Classification of Milk Replacers Milk replacers can be divided into two groups based on protein source: 1- All milk: contains only milk ingredients 2- Alternative: contains some proteins of non-milk sources. Milk replacers containing less than 50% total milk solids are known as Milk substitutes. A common practice in formulating alternative milk replacers is to replace 50% of the milk protein with lower cost plant proteins Acceptable protein sources include: - Soy protein concentrate - Soy protein isolates - Modified wheat protein Unacceptable protein sources include: - Pea flour. - Lupin flour. - Wheat flour. - Fishmeal - Whole blood protein During the first three weeks of age, heifer calves being raised as replacement heifers should be fed only all-milk replacers. This is because the digestive system of newborn calves is incapable of digesting alternative protein sources. After three weeks of age, calves can be switched to alternative milk replacers. The alternative milk replacers are also suitable for veal calves and calves destined for beef production.

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

Mixing and Feeding Considerations For replacement calves, the recommendation is to feed about 450 grams of milk replacer powder per day. The mixing recommendations indicated in the product label should be followed carefully, especially the temperate of water used for reconstitution. Milk replacers should be mixed until all powder is in suspension and all clumps are dissolved. The reconstituted milk replacer should contain between 10 and 15% dry matter. In cold weather, the dry matter content can be increased to 25% to enhance nutrient intake. Most of milk replacers are mixed in the ratio of one part of milk replacer to seven parts of water

Management of liquid feeding of calves Setting the level of liquid feeding is critical because: 1- Sufficient amount of nutrients must be given to ensure optimum health and growth. 2- Feeding excessive amounts of liquid feed, particularly milk replacers can cause digestive upsets and diarrhea. 3- The difference between the need and an excess is small in young calves. The amount of liquid feed that should be fed is mainly determined by: 1- Body weight of the calf. 2- Season of year (winter vs summer) 3- Feeding frequency (number of feedings per day). Liquid feeds (milk or milk replacers) should be fed at the rate of 8 to 10% of body weight. Calves are traditionally fed twice. Feeding once daily gives similar results in most cases. However, twice daily feeding in recommended for the following:

1- Sick calves 2- When high level of feed intake is required (e.g. veal calves). 3- When feeding a milk replacer that is less than high quality.

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

Characteristics of feeds for calf before weaning Colostrum Milk Milk replacer powder Protein (%) Fat (%) Lactose (%) Ash (%) Total solids (%) TDN (% as fed) TDN (% DM) 14 7 3 1.2 25.2 32.8 130 32 3.7 5.0 0.7 12.6 16.4 130 20 10 variable variable 90 95 106

Milk replacer with water 2.5 1.3 11.3 11.9 106.0

Skim milk

3.2 0.1 5.0 1.2 9.5 8.6 91

TDN required by a 45 kg Holstein calf gaining 300 g/day = 0.74 kg TDN/day (NRC 1989) Amount of feed required to meet TDN requirement: Colostrum 2.5 kg/day (some calves may consume up to 6 liters/day Milk 4.5 kg/day Milk replacer powder 0.78 kg/day Milk replacer solution 6.2 kg/day (7 liters/kg of powder) Skim milk 8.6 kg/day

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

Digestion and Metabolism in Newborn Calf (Preruminant) The newborn calf is not a ruminant Preruminant refers to the period after birth when the calf is dependent on milk (or milk replacers) as its major food. At birth and during the first few weeks of life, the compartments of the digestive system (i.e. rumen, reticulum, and omasum) are undeveloped. In contrast to the mature cow, the abomasum (true stomach) of the newborn calf is the main compartment, constituting 60% of the total tissue weight of the stomach. At this stage of life, the rumen is nonfunctional and the calf cannot utilize some feeds digested by the adult. During nursing or feeding from a bucket, milk bypasses the rumen via the esophageal groove and passes directly to the abomasum. Reflex action closes the groove to form a tube-like structure, which prevents milk or milk replacer from entering the rumen. When milk is consumed very rapidly, some may overflow into the rumen.

Esophageal Groove A unique feature of the preruminant digestive system. It is a fold of tissue that leads from the base of the esophagus to the reticulo-rumen orifice. Contractions of muscles in this fold of tissue forms a tube called the esophageal groove, through which milk and other liquids bypasses the reticulorumen to the abomasum. The closure of the esophageal groove is a conditioned reflex initiated mainly by visual and other stimuli that the young associated with feeding.

Protein Digestion Inactive pepsin and chymosin are secreted by abomasal mucosa. The enzymes are activated by the acidic (HCl) condition of the abomasum. Chymosin is the major enzyme responsible for clot or curd formation. Breaking peptide bonds of -casein polypeptide chain in the presence of Ca ions, results in the coagulation of the casein in milk. Chymosin activity is relatively high at 2 days of age but declines with age (2-4 weeks in lambs). Chymosin activities decline sharply at weaning. Pepsin activity increases upon introduction of solid food and is proportional to increased body weight. After weaning, pepsin is the main abomasal enzyme. Abomasal digesta entering the duodenum after a meal of whole milk contains little intact casein, indicating that this protein is extensively hydrolyzed in the abomasum. The whey

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

protein -lacalbumin is also hydrolzed in the abomasum whereas -lactoglobulin is relatively unaltered by abomasum enzymes. In the small intestine, protein is digested first by the action of pancreatic proteases (trypsin and chymotrypsin) and then by the action of peptidases secreted by pancreas and intestinal mucosa. Milk proteins are highly digestible (> 95%). Plant proteins used in milk replacers are less digestible than milk proteins. Regardless of protein type, protein digestibility improves with age, which correlates with maturation of the proteolytic activities of the digestive system.

Fat Digestion and Absorption The first enzyme added to the ingesta is pregastric esterase (secreted by salivary glands). The enzyme hydrolyzes short-chain fatty acids and has a limited effect on long-chain fatty acids. The abomasum does not have any lipolytic enzymes. However, hydrolysis of milk lipids continues in the abomasum by the action of pregastric esterase. Most of milk fat digestion occurs in the small intestine by the action of pancreatic lipase. Most of milk long-chain fatty acids are hydrolyzed by the action of pancreatic lipase. The end products of milk lipid digestion are free fatty acids, mono- and di-acylglycerols. Milk fat is almost 100% digestible by calves. The digestibility of animal and plant lipids used in milk replacers is also high providing they are emulsified to particle sizes less than 3-4 m by homogenization.

Digestion and Absorption of Carbohydrates Except for lactase, other carbohydrate digesting enzymes are found in low concentrations in the digestive system of the newborn calf. Consequently, utilization of any disaccharides or polysaccharides other than lactose is very limited in young calves. The calf lacks sucrase and amylase that are present in the young of many nonruminants. Intestinal maltase and pancreatic amylase are found in limited amounts at birth but increase in activity with age. Post-ruminal digestion of starch and maltose increases considerably during the first three months but remains lower compared with monogastric animals.

Colostral Immunoglobulin Absorption The intestine of the neonatal calf is permeable to colostral immunoglobulins for a short period of time after birth and therefore a delay in the consumption of colostrum greatly reduces -globulin uptake. The ileum is the primary site of -globulin absorption. Reduction in absorption of immunoglobulin bodies is related to renewal of intestinal lining that occurs 40-48 hours after birth.

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

Development of the Rumen As long as the calf remains on milk, the rumen remains undeveloped. When calves begin consuming solid food, a microbial population becomes established in the rumen and reticulum. End products of microbial fermentation (i.e. volatile fatty acids) are responsible for the development of the rumen. This occurs as early as 3 weeks of age with most feeding programs. If grain feeding with or without forage is started during the first few weeks of life, the rumen will become larger and heavier with papillae

development, and will begin functioning like the adult's when the calf is about 3 months of age. Butyric and propionic (mostly butyric) acids are the major stimulants of tissue growth of the rumen because: 1- They are metabolized by ruminal tissue during absorption. Their metabolism provides the energy for growth of the epithelial cells. 2- They have direct effects of proliferation and differentiation of gastro-intestinal epithelial cells. Feeding grains produces more propionic and butyric acids than does feeding forages. Therefore, development of the forestomach tissue and a papillae are more responsive to grain than forage intake. It is recommended that forage feeding should be withheld until after weaning. Ruminal papillae of a calf fed allgrain starters Ruminal papillae of a calf fed gain + hay starter

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

At about 12 to 16 weeks of age, the proportions of the four compartments of the fore-stomach will be similar to those of a mature animal (see figures). Based on tissue weight the proportions are 76, 18, and 15% for the reticulorumen, omasum and abomasum, respectively. At birth the proportions are 38, 13, and 49%, respectively.

Development of Ruminal Microbial Population Ruminal microbial population is greatly influenced by diet and ruminal pH. During the first three weeks of life, the predominant ruminal microbes are aerobic or facultative bacteria. As dry matter intake increases, lactic acid may become the major product of fermentation. This is particularly true in early-weaned calves, which receive highly fermentable carbohydrates in pre-starters. This results in a very low ruminal pH. During this period, the anaerobic bacterial population increases in this period resulting in a more diverse microbial population. At about six weeks of age, microbial population similar to that of adults predominates with some characteristics of calf microbial population still remains. By 9-13 weeks bacterial population that utilizes cellulose and hemicellulose as energy sources become dominant and ruminal pH and substrate availability are more favorable for the growth of these microorganisms.

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

Calf Weaning A calf should not be weaned until it rumen is functional and capable of supporting the calfs nutritional needs. Calves are usually weaned by weight and appetite rather than age. As a rule of thumb, calves can be weaned abruptly when they consume 800 to 1000 g of starter for two consecutive days (not less than 500 g). This usually happens when calves are 35 to 40 days old and weigh 65 to 70 kg (Holstein calves). Under a good calf management program, Holstein calves can be weaned at 3 to 5 weeks of age (early weaning). However, weaning in most commercial herds is at 6 to 8 weeks of age. Jersey and Guernsey calves are usually weaned at older ages than Holstein calves. To ensure early and successful weaning, water and good quality starter must be available by the time the calf is 7 to 10 days old.

Importance of offering forages before weaning Forages are important in stimulating rumination, which will begin to take place at about two months of age. However, high forage intake may slow down the development of ruminal papillae due to lower production of propionate and butyrate relative to acetate.

Importance of calf starter Rumen development takes place rapidly between 4 and 8 weeks of age. Starters are more important than forages as a source of fermentable carbohydrate for rumen development. Production of volatile fatty acids, particularly propionic and butyric acid in the rumen stimulates development of the rumen and the reticulorumen. Grain starter should be offered as early as four days after birth and should continue until about four months of age. Calves should be encouraged to consume starter by placing a small amount in the bottom of the bucket from which the liquid diet is fed or hand feeding small amounts. Starter intake usually becomes measurable between 7 and 14 days of age.

Quality of calf starter Calf starter should be: 1- High quality. 2- Fresh. 3- Palatable. 4- Coarse textured.

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Nutrient specifications of calf starters Crude protein 18-20% Total digestible nutrients 80% Acid detergent fiber 15% Ether extract 3-5% Calcium 0.6% Phosphorous 0.4% Copper 10 mg/kg Zinc 42 mg/kg Manganese 30 mg/kg Vitamin A 6000 IU/kg Vitamin D 1400 IU/kg Vitamin E 50 IU/kg

Examples of calf starters Several types of calf starters are available (Table 3a,b): 1- Prestarter: contains milk powder as well as cereal grains, oilseed meals, byproduct feeds and mineral-vitamin mix. 2- Regular (grain) starter: 16 to 20% crude protein and contains cereal grains, oilseed meals, byproduct feeds and mineral-vitamin mix. 3- High fiber starter (complete ration): complete calf rations contain up to 50% forage or fibrous byproducts such as cottonseed hulls, oat hulls or sun-cured alfalfa
Table 3a. Example of calf-starter diet (mash form) A 50 25 17.5 5 1.5 1 Ration B 51 25.5 16 5 1.5 1 C 37 37 18.5 5 1.5 1

Cracked or coarsely ground corn and cob meal Cracked or coarsely ground shelled corn Cracked or coarsely ground barley, oats or wheat Soybean meal Sunflower meal Molasses Mineral and vitamin premix Trace mineral salt Table 3,b. Example of calf-starter diet (pelleted starter) Ingredient Wheat Barley Oats Soybean meal Canola meal Dehydrated alfalfa meal Spray dried whole milk

% 30 21 16.5 14 4 4 3

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management Molasses Mineral-vitamin premix Ground limestone Cobalt-iodized salt 5 2 0.3 0.2

Calves should be allowed to 1.5 to 2 kg of starter daily plus all the good forage they could eat. Water should be available all the time. Salt and mineral supplements up to 90 g per day may be provided. Calves will depend on starters as their main source of nutrients up to 4 months of age.

Expected body weight gain before weaning Liquid diets supplemented with a starter should allow calves to gain 250-400 g/day. It is important to remember that the objective of the pre-weaning feeding is not to maximize body weight gain but rather to insure good health and good skeletal growth.

1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 age (weeks)

Starter consumption (g/day)

90 Body weight (kg) 80 70 60 50 40 2 4 6 8 10 12 Age (weeks)

Figure 1. Consumption of grain starter and body weight gain of calves fed milk at a constant rate and free choice forage.

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

Other Managerial Aspects for the Dairy Calf

Housing The calf housing facilities should be comfortable for the calf and convenient for the stockperson. General requirements include individual housing for each calf, dry, well ventilated pens with ample of bedding, and isolation from older animals. A popular housing system for dairy calves is the portable outside hutches. The hutches should be placed in a well-drained and protected area with south-facing open front. Only one calf should be place in individual hutch (1.5 x 2.5 m). Lots of bedding should be used to keep the calf dry and to prevent the straw from freezing in winter. Hutches should be cleaned and disinfected between calves. Weaned calves can be moved to calf grow-out facilities such as outside pens with overhead shelter. The move can be made when the calves are as young as 4 months of age or as old as 6 months of age. The calves can be placed in groups of up to 12 calves each. The age and size spread should not be more than 2 months and 50 kg, respectively. Allow about 3 m2 per calf and 25 cm of feed space

Identification Identification of calves is an important managerial tool that guarantees accuracy of heat dates, breeding dates, calving dates and monthly milk weights. Every calf should be identified at birth with a permanent visible herd number. Permanent identification is also required to register purebred calves. Identification numbers should not be duplicated. Branding is another identification method. Calves are usually branded before its one-month old by either freezedrying or hot branding.

Extra teats Extra teats on cow's udder can be a site for infection and may interfere with machine milking. Extra teats should be removed as a soon as they can be identified. Calves should be checked at birth and extra teats should be removed at the line where the teat joins the udder using sharp scissors or a serrated curved shears. A veterinarian should be consulted if there is any doubt as to which teats are supernumerary.

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Dehorning Calves are usually horned as soon as the horn buttons can be felt, usually between one and two weeks of age. Dehorning can be done with caustic potash or electric dehorner. A veterinarian should be consulted regarding which dehorning method to use.

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Veal Production Two types of veal are produced: 1- Red veal 2- White veal Red Veal In this system, calves are raised as on milk or milk replacers up to 6-8 weeks of age and then introduced to all concentrate feeding system. The concentrate rations may be made of whole corn or barley and supplement pellets to give a concentrate diet with 16-18% protein. Rate of gain is 1.4-1.8 kg/day with a feed conversion of 3:1 or less.

White Veal White veal refers to the anemia resulting from feeding milk or milk replacers, which contain low levels of iron. Vealer milk replacers are similar to regular milk replacers but contain a higher level of fat. The calves are gradually brought to an intake of 9-12 kg of milk daily and maintained at that level until they reached the market weight (140-150 kg). The feed conversion is about 10 kg of milk per kg of gain. White veal is often raised with reduced lightning in order to minimize activity and maximize feed conversion.

Profitability of veal production depends on: - Market price of veal - Alternative value of milk and cost of milk replacers. - Initial size and cost of the calf.

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Scours (Diarrhea) Scours or neonatal diarrhea is the primary cause of death in unweaned calves (50 to 60%). Primary Cause - Infectious agents; bacteria, viruses, and protozoa (microbial diarrhea) - Improper nutrition (Nutritional diarrhea). Predisposing factors: - Inadequate intake of colostrum - Using milk with high bacterial count - Feeding milk or milk products at irregular time or irregular amounts. - Feeding poor quality milk replacers, especially calves less than 3 weeks of age. - Poor sanitation of feeding equipment. - Keeping calves in dirty pens or exposed to scouring calves.

Types of Neonatal Diarrhea Diarrhea in newborn calves can be classified into two groups: 1- Nutritional diarrhea: Results from ingesting too much milk or a milk that is not properly digested (i.e. bad quality milk replacer). Overfeeding milk to hungry calves The main cause of nutritional diarrhea is lactic acid bacteria. Excessive fermentation of sugars (e.g. lactose) in the large intestine results in the production of large quantities of lactic acid. Osmotic pressure increases and pH is lowered in the intestine. As a result, water will be drawn from the body into the intestine causing diarrhea 2- Infectious diarrhea: Caused by infectious agents mainly E. coli. Infectious diarrhea is the most common health problem in young calves when predisposing factors are not well-controlled. The incidence of fatal E. coli infections is high during the first two weeks of life. Affected calves that survive this period, usually recover. Two types of E. coli infections can be identified: a- Septicemia: E. coli may cross the intestinal wall and enter the blood stream causing septicemia. The highest mortality occurs during the second and third day after birth. b- Enterotoxemia: E. coli produces toxins that cause localized intestinal inflammation. Peak mortality occurs at about 6-7 days of age.

Signs A major loss of water in the feces. This accompanied by massive loss of electrolytes (Na, Cl and K, Table 4). A healthy calf losses 5% of water intake in feces whereas a diarrheic calf could lose up to 80% of water intake, or 50% extracellular fluid volume.

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Occurrence of diarrhea in young calve is sudden and acute and the calf can loose up to 12% of its body fluid within 24 hours.
Table 4. Electrolytes balances (g per day) in normal and diarrheic calves. Electrolytes Normal calf Sodium +0.38 Potassium +1.31 Chloride -0.93 Calcium +5.52 Magnesium +0.34 Diarrheic calves -10.70 -3.00 -12.70 +1.00 -0.26

Degrees and signs of dehydration - < 6% no clinical signs - 6-8% sunken eyes, dry mouth and nose - 8-10% Loss of body weight, more distinct sunken eyes, reduction in urine output. - 10-14% Cold extremities, calf remains down, poor peripheral pulses. - > 12-14 shock and death Most calves that die from diarrhea do not die as a result of the infectious agent but rather from dehydration and imbalance of electrolytes.

Treatments The key to successful treatment of calf diarrhea is early detection and early administration of a well-balanced oral rehydration products (electrolytes). Oral electrolyte treatment should start at the first sign of diarrhea (excretion of large volume of loose watery feces). In severe cases of dehydration (10% or more), intravenous feeding may be necessary. Scouring calves treated with an electrolyte solution should continue to receive their normal feeding of milk or milk replacer. This is because the electrolyte solutions do not contain enough nutrients to meet the energy requirements of the calf. Electrolytes solution can be classified based on the pH of the solution into alkaline and acidic electrolytes. Acidic electrolyte solution may be fed immediately after a meal of milk as they may help protein co-aggulation and digestion. However, alkaline electrolyte solutions are more effective when they are fed 3-4 hours after a meal, as they may interfere with milk-co-aggulation.

Other Diseases Pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs): Respiratory diseases occur between 4-6 weeks of age. Calves with chronic pneumonia seldom recover and should not be used for replacement. Pneumonia may vary from subclinical to acute and fatal. Rate of morbidity (incidence of disease) is high but mortality rate is quite variable. Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria (e.g. Pasteurella multocida), virus (e.g. Parainfluenza Type 3) and mycoplasma (e.g. Mycoplasma dispar).

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

Pneumonia usually follows other infectious diseases. The organisms associated with the disease often cannot cause clinical signs without the presence of predisposing factors. Clinical signs of pneumonia Clinical signs are variable and are generally observed in various combinations: 1- Nasal discharges 2- Dry cough, especially noticeable after exercise. 3- Rectal temperature > 41 C (normal temperature 39 C). 4- Difficult breathing 5- Lesions of the lungs.

Predisposing factors: 1- Reduced immunity and / or continuous challenge from microbes (contaminated environment). 2- Poor ventilation and high relative humidity. 3- Poor feeding management (overfeeding of colostrum or milk replacers) 4- Poor housing management (too early weaning, too early grouping, stress due to transportation) Treatment of pneumonia: Calves with pneumonia should be placed in a dry wellventilated environment. Antibiotics are usually given to reduce the effects of secondary bacterial infections. Prevention of pneumonia: Reduction or elimination of predisposing factors will significantly reduce the occurrence of pneumonia. Adequate intake of colostrum, avoidance of nutritional stress, proper housing and good natural ventilation are effective ways of reducing the incidence on pneumonia. Vaccination program relevant to agents prevalent in an area may be planned under veterinarian supervision.

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

Birth, colostrum (2-3 days) Individual pens, hutches 300-400 g/day gain Whole milk, milk replacer, milk substitute, sour colostrum, (starter, hay)

Group pens 600-700 g/day gain

6-8 weeks, weaning starter (0.5-1.0 kg daily) hay, water

16 weeks, forage (hay, silage, pasture) grower (0.05-2.0 kg/day)

Groups 700 g/day gain 15 months, breeding forage, concentrate (0.5-2.0 kg/day)

24-24 months, calving

Dairy Calf Feeding Types of feed and subsequent use

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Dairy Cattle Production 342-450A Calf management

Nutritional considerations for the newborn calf. Age Form (week) of diet Fats Preruminant Transitional 0-4 4-8 Liquid Liquid Emulsified Emulsified

Energy source Simple sugars Lactose only Lactose only No Starch No No Cellulose & hemicllulose No No

Nitrogen sources Animal protein Milk Yes Plant protein No Max. 50% yes NPN No No


Dry feed






Further readings: Technical Dairy Guide (CD): Raising dairy heifers. The Babcock Institute for International Dairy Research and Development. Madison, WI. Davis, C. L. and Drackley, J. K. 1998. The Development, Nutrition, and Management of the Young Calf. Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa. (In the library). A comprehensive site for dairy calf & heifer management A slide show about dairy calf feeding & management. Images of calf rumens.

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