Monitoring calf care: Goals and thresholds

calves1.Newborn care and feeding colostrum:Quarterly – draw blood from all heifer calves between 2 and 7 days of age on herd check day.Goal for blood serum total protein is 80 percent 5.0 and greater, 50 percent 5.5 and greater.Quarterly – summarize the number of new navel infections requiring treatment.Goal for navel infections is less than 10 percent.

2. Colostrum collection and storage:Quarterly – collect “as-fed” sample of colostrum and culture for bacteria.Goal is less than 5,000 cfu/ml of coliform or other enterotoxic bacteria.

3. Cleaning milk feeding equipment:Quarterly – collect rinse samples from (a) nursing bottle and nipple, (b) esophageal tube feeder, and (c) buckets used to store colostrum and milk replacer mixing and feeding. Culture samples for bacteria.Goal is less than 5,000 cfu/ml of coliform or other enterotoxic bacteria.Quarterly – collect “as-fed” sample of milk replacer and culture for bacteria.Goal is less than 5,000 cfu/ml of coliform or other enterotoxic bacteria.

4. Calf growth rates:Within the first three days of life, using a heart girth weight tape, estimate birth weights on all even numbered calves.Using the same tape, estimate weaning weights of all calves taped at birth.Quarterly – summarize the amount of weight gained by these calves and estimate average daily gain.Goal is at least 1.7 pounds average daily gain at 42 days.

What to do when goals are not met, read more…
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