Calving season is here for many producers, and right around the corner for others. Now is the time to begin thinking about health protocols for newborn calves. This is a stressful period in a young calf’s life, and by ensuring they receive the proper nutrition, vitamins and minerals, you can make sure calves are off to a strong start.
Healthy calves start with healthy cows. At this stage of the cow’s life, it is important that she is receiving a nutrient rich diet with the appropriate amount of protein. By working with your BioZyme® Area Sales Manager or one of our nutritionists we can assist with forage testing and ration balancing to get your cows on the right track.
We recommend a high quality breeding mineral, like Concept•Aid®, should be fed 45 days prior to calving. Concept•Aid is high in vitamin E and selenium which are important for colostrum quality. Colostrum production begins as early as 4-5 weeks prior to calving, so you want to make sure that the cow is ready. Once the calf is born it is important that they receive colostrum with the first 24 hours. However, for maximum immunity, receiving colostrum within six hours is best.
We also like to give a does of Vita Charge® paste or a Vita Charge bolus at birth and again at tagging to help them deal with stress. Vita Charge will give the calf a boost of B-vitamins to encourage intake. Vita Charge also contains Amaferm®, a prebiotic that multiply the good bacteria in the calf’s stomach. At this point in the calf’s life, it doesn’t make sense to give a probiotic as the calf is a functional monogastric, and therefore, probiotics won’t help the rumen.
As calves begin to mature, putting a Vita Charge Stress Tub in an area where the cows can’t get to it, such as a calf hutch or bedded shed, can provide additional health benefits. In addition to vitamins, minerals and Amaferm, the Vita Charge Stress Tub contains MOS that can greatly help with scours issues and promote overall health.
It is best to contact your local veterinarian about vaccinations. Depending on your part of the country, recommended vaccinations can vary greatly. Your veterinarian will be able to give you the best advice.