Calf nutrition
Animal Nutrition

Airway infections are costly

Alongside diarrhoea, it is the most common disorder affecting young calves: airway infections. A systematic approach can prevent many problems. Ger van Wersch, our calf rearing specialist shares his tips.

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Colostrum is the basis

The prevention of airway infections starts with good-quality colostrum. Make sure that your calves take on at least two to four litres of good-quality colostrum within an hour following birth (rule of thumb for the volume: ten percent of the calf’s birth weight); a further two litres within eight hours, and two more within 24 hours. In other words, a total of seven to eight litres during the first 24 hours during which colostrum is only fed from the first milking. This guarantees your calf sufficient essential nutrients to establish sufficient resistance immediately following birth.

Observe your animals

Pneumonia is often observable even before your animals start coughing. Take the time to observe your calves carefully. Is their breathing rate raised, do they stand with the typical arched back, are they insufficiently alert or is their food take-up less than normal? These are all symptoms of (initial) pneumonia. If you hear coughing, always check the body temperature. With fever (39.5 degrees Celsius or higher) always consult your veterinarian. Isolate the calf to prevent contamination of other animals.
If the symptoms return, or if other animals show the same symptoms, consult your veterinarian on the need for blood testing or a bronchoscopy. The examination can identify the cause, so you can draw up a suitable action plan.

Additional support

To guarantee optimum support for the health of your calves, try using Kalvolac CAIR. This high-quality milk powder contains a mixture of herbs and essential oils that support the calves’ airways, and can be fed immediately following the colostrum.

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