The most efficient cattle operations never consider tidy housing a waste of time. Washing, tidying and maintaining a hygienic cattle shed has financial, health and time benefits down the line.
Here are the reasons it is particularly important for calves to have a tidy shed.
Calves have a poor immune system
If your shed is covered in harmful bacteria then your calves are at risk from the moment they hit the ground. Minimise this risk by powerwashing your byre before the calving season starts and by powerwashing calving pens once a cow and calf leaves.
Calves are particularly vulnerable at birth because they haven’t got a well developed immune system yet.
There is no vaccine to combat calf-prone viruses like cryptosporidium so keeping the calving box hygienic and disinfected is key to avoid it and other diseases from building up.
Better ventilation means less chance of pneumonia.
This has more to do with planning (and altering) your shed design, but better ventilation is important at calving time too. In well-ventilated sheds, animals are shown by research to perform better, as they are less likely to develop respiratory infections or pneumonia.
Badly ventilated sheds retain too much moisture in the air which then promotes harmful bacteria growth.
Calves spend 80% of their time lying down
Because of this, and their poor immune system, it is vital that you refresh their straw bedding often before it gets too dirty. This has the added benefit of keeping them warm.
You’ll know where everything is
In the case of a difficult calving, you need to have everything you need on hand and ready to go. The last thing that needs to happen during a time-intense breech birth is for you to have to climb around barrels and over boxes to get your stuff together.
Luckily enough for the Moocall calving sensor, you can strap it to the cow!
Certain minerals are harmful to calves
Most farmers aren’t calving all year around, so calving pens will be empty for a time. This does not mean you can store things there when they are.
Calving boxes should be left clean and dry during the summer, and shouldn’t be used to store minerals that could be potentially harmful to calves.
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