New Suckle Regimes Linked to Calf Health Improvement

AUSTRIA - A leaflet on 'mother linked calf rearing' states that a suckler cow can effectively feed a calf for short periods whilst also employed in a commercial production role.
calendar icon 7 December 2012
clock icon 1 minute read

Programmes that facilitate calf rearing and milk production have been devised. The programmes vary according to housing systems, farm layout, herd management strategy and equipment available.

'Sucklesystems' that have been devised are as follows

  • The calves are fed twice daily before or after milking the cow
  • calves spend several hours a day or more with mother
  • calves are only a few days to three weeks with mother and then go to a nurse cow, who is not milked, but contributes my suckling three or four calves.

Eight biodynamic farms have tested the three basic systems of calf rearing laid out above. Their findings have been summarised in a publication from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL in Switzerland.

Outcomes hoped to come from this study are farming benefits like improved weight gain, better calf social skills and welfare without it being detrimental to the udder health of the mother cow, said researchers at FiBL.

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