3 Proper Ways to Take Care of a New Calf for Beginners
Having a cattle farm can be a good source of income. It is indeed a tiring process in growing your farm, but it is a one profitable venture. Before you begin your cattle farm, you might want to choose what kind of cows you want to grow. There are three kinds of cow farm. There are cows raised for dairy production like milk, butter and cheese. The other type is for meat which we call beef and the last one is the one used as drafts. Things you Should Know Before Starting a Cattle Farm allows to have a good knowledge when you decide to start a cattle farm.
To have a high production cattle farm, you should know the basic thing how to take care your cow. By taking care of your cattle good, you will get better quality from your cow. You must keep your cows healthy and strong for whatever purpose they will serve. Feed them with high quality food and keep them away from disease.
To take care of your cow, you should provide them a good are for them to graze. Nice pastures mean healthy cows. Grass feeding is the best choice for chows and you have to know that a cow needs at least one or two acres of grazing land. They need to graze around to have plenty of exercise and good health. How to Develop and Manage a Small Cattle Farm would be a good link if you start your farm from small scale.
Having a cattle farm will give you lots of things to take care. One of it is about birth and calf, baby cow. Cow gives birth, the baby stands up and suckles and things will go well. However, sometimes there is trouble during this calving process. Without our hand to help, a newborn calf can die.
After being born, the mother usually takes care and attend her calf. But, not all cows are amazing mothers. Sometimes, they just walk away and leave the calf. Here you need to step in and help the mother to get her motherly instinct to kick in. Take the mother to walk around a bit. And usually they will come back to the calf to attend. When it happens, somebody should be around the calf and keep stimulating the calf by dry-toweling to make sure it is warm.
After the calf being born, you should take action to prevent the infection. Apply the iodine to its umbilical stump during his first half hour after born. After doing that, ensure that the calf rise up within half an hour after birth to get its colostrum from the mother. Nurse the calf within an hour. If it can’t get up, it is showing the sign of a weak calf. Feed it with colostrum through the bottle.
Now we are going to discuss 3 proper ways to take care of new calf, especially for beginners.
1. First things to do
During the initial days after delivering, we should do these some actions:
- Get rid of the placenta so it won’t be eaten by the cow
- Let the cow to dry the calf by licking it.
- Apply iodine disinfectant to the calf.
- Guide the calf to suckle the mother cow. If the calf is weak, you need to guide the calf to the mother’s udder. Ensure the calf gets the first colostrum as it is very important and should be taken within five hours after birth. And for the first 24 hours, the calf should get 3 or 4 feeds of this milk.
For your information, the colostrum produced by the cow is now suitable for human consumption, hence, the milk should not be sold. At the end of the second day, you may separate the calf and can take the milk for your consumption.
For dairy farm, weaning is an important activity to do. However, for beef farm, it’s not necessary to separate the calf from the mother. They can stay and suckle as long as they want. But for dairy calf, they are separated soon after being born. The purpose is for the farmer to be able collecting the milk and sell it, rather than being consumed by the calf.
The disadvantage for the letting the calf suckling the milk as long as they wanted is that they won’t like to eat dry feed as their stomach won’t develop fast. So weaning is one of the answer to make the calf grow stronger. There are several ways to wean the calf, they are:
a. Complete weaning
This method will separate the calf and the mother completely. They will be placed at different places and can’t see nor hear each other at all. By doing so, you can get 100% production of milk for sale.
b. Partial weaning
Mother and baby can be together all day in the paddock or they are put nearby but the calf won’t be able to suckle the mother. The calf can only suckle when it’s allowed. And the frequency depends on whether the mother is milked once or twice a day. When the mother is milked once a day, mother and baby will be together during the day and be separated during nighttime. This method will make the calf develop its stomach by grazing the grass during the day. However, it has access to suckle its mom all day and the available milk to sale will be lesser.
3. Feed the calf
Remember to give the first milk of the mother after giving birth to her calf. The milk contains colostrum which is very essential for the newborn. And after all, the 24-hour old milk of the new mother is not suitable for human consumption. It is a good solution to keep the colostrum in the freezer as a cow can die shortly after giving birth. The colostrum can be fed to the orphaned calf.
Calf can begin to feed the grass from the first day of birth. It is important to let them have it as it will strengthen their stomach development. If they are penned, offer them grass all the time to let them feed the grass. When they reach the age of 1 month old, the calf should be eating grass and some concentrate. While for the concentrate you can introduce it to the calf gradually. Calf can eat independently on grass and concentrate from about 2 weeks old. They can be completely weaned from milk if you feed them enough with good quality dry feed. If there is a forbidden area for the cows to roam around, cut the grass there to prevent any infections to the calf.
If you want to feed the calf cheaper, it’s to give them a growing, nutritious pasture from birth onward. Grass is much cheaper than milk to feed. Milk should be gradually taken away starting when the calf to eat the grass and concentrate. When it reaches 8-10 weeks, it should be completely weaned.
Do not forget the water. Calf will have water between its feeds of milk since 1 or 2 weeks old. If it doesn’t have enough water, it can cause death faster than the lack of the feed. When it reaches 6 weeks, a calf might be drinking around 4 liters per day.
How to make your cow drink enough water is one of the solution if you are having difficulties with your cow and when you think How to increase the appetite in cattle would help you in taking care of your cattle, don’t hesitate to click on it