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Writing Your Calf Newborn Protocols

Holstein calf shortly after birth

This month I’d like to start focusing on: How to start writing your calf newborn protocols.

Let’s first focus on the timeframe, please allow yourself time to adjust and re-adjust your protocols.  Calves are never an easy creature to conform to written protocols. Our basic goal is to maintain consistency between employees and to understand basic calf care.

I am a firm believer, that one should never become comfortable raising calves, the minute you do, something will certainly happen to cause you to re-evaluate your position.

Let’s focus first and foremost on New Born Calves.  Colostrum is #1 on the priority list.  Make a checklist for employees to refer to on newborn calf events.   Don’t forget winter month events, usually, there are a few more steps in the protocol during winter.  Record the colostrum- Amount fed and who fed it along with the refractometer score.

Vaccines, are we giving them?   What and how are we giving them? Nselgen (Internasal), or Calf Guard (orally) which is to be fed 20 minutes prior to feeding colostrum.

Navel care, are we dipping or spraying? The saturation of the navel cord is the key. 

Identification, how many ear tags are assigned to the calf, and where is the RFID to be placed on the ear.

Once you have mastered the first few hours of life, then we can focus on how the calf gets from the maternity pen to its permanent home for the next few months.

How do we move calves and who oversees doing this?

What are the feeding times and nutrition plan? Spell this out in bold letters. Have a chart that is laminated for your employees to refer to.

Feeding plans: are you using pasteurized whole milk, milk powder, or both? Again, the process and steps should be spelled out.

Bedding calves, with what and how often is the task done?

Dehorning, vaccination, and treatment: again, spell out in either picture form or written form for all to see and refer to. Keep it simple!  

The trick is to keep it simple and not too wordy. If you can use pictures or videos that are specific to your farm, by all means, use this tool.

If you would like further help with this task. Please feel free to contact me. Good luck with formatting your calf care protocols.

Sincerely,

Minnie 

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