Calving season is in full swing, and with that, we wanted to offer calf care tips to help the little ones thrive. Healthy calves begin with healthy cows. Cows that are vaccinated for prominent diseases have much higher quality colostrum, or first milk, than unvaccinated cows. It is this first milk that provides the calves with immunity until they are old enough to be vaccinated themselves, which is done at 4-6 weeks of age. If you did not vaccinate your cows prior to calving, there are vaccines which provide temporary local immunity to newborn calves through oral and intranasal administration.
Another important component of calf health is the trace mineral Selenium. Selenium is necessary for proper muscle function, including the heart muscle. Newborn calves may be deficient in Selenium because the mineral is not found in soil in Michigan, making our local forages deficient. Calves may benefit from a dose of injectable Selenium at birth.
Also remember that during cold winter weather, our bottle fed calves need an extra feeding to maintain their body temperature. While we may find “Shrek” ears cute, no one wants their calves to suffer frostbitten ears.
If you are interested in setting up a visit to discuss calf health, please call our office at (517) 541-2238.