How to raise calves at home
Before you get calves in your farm, you need to get acquainted with the methods of their maintenance, breeding technologies. It is also worth paying attention to the organization of the diet of young animals and find out about possible problems in the content. Below we consider in more detail the methods and technologies for raising calves from birth.
Calf Maintenance Methods
The choice of methods for keeping young cattle depends on the direction the animal belongs to.
There are three most common ways of content, which we will consider in more detail below:
The classical (group) method consists in keeping calves in cells for 14 days. Then groups of 5–10 goals are formed. The cells must be solid and internally divided into compartments. Every day you need to clean the cell with a shovel. The floor in the barn should be made of concrete, on top you need to lay a bed of straw. Young growth, which is 2-3 months old, is walking and grazing in the fresh air. Calves under this age should have free access to hay, grass and water.
Boxing content of the calf is the basis of the individual method. A newborn individual is separated from the mother, placed in a box. This method of raising calves assumes the age of the animals from birth to 3 months. The height of the building should be 1.5 m, area - 2 m². A cage is built in front of it so that the animal can be in the fresh air throughout the day. The area of the cage should be 2-3 m².
Did you know? Calves are called not only a brood of a cow, but also a bison, a yak, a buffalo, a bison and an ox.
A house or box can be built from such materials:
- Wood. Cheap material from which you can build a house yourself. Today, the tree is used extremely rarely, since it is difficult to disinfect, which can cause the disease of young animals.
- Polymers Such a calf can be ordered. It is an order of magnitude better than wooden buildings, since it is a lightweight material, it retains heat well, the building does not need to be additionally insulated. Also, the disinfection process is much easier compared to other materials.
In Western countries, an individual method of growing calves is widespread, it is used annually. Inside the house there must be a bed of straw. When the litter layer settles, the litter is loosened and a new layer of straw is added. This method is not suitable for growing calves in cold regions.
- The benefits of this type of content:
- reduced risk of disease;
- the body's resistance to the effects of viruses, which appears by hardening;
- a simplified process of examination and treatment of young animals by a veterinarian.
- The disadvantages of this type of content:
- high cost of materials;
- A large volume of milk is used to feed each individual.
This method involves directly locating the calf near the cow. Feeding is carried out using the milk coming from the cattle udder. Newborn calves are left for 7 days with their nursing mother, then they are divided into groups of 2–5 individuals, which are assigned to one cow. Cattle chosen for feeding young animals should be healthy, giving up to 2 thousand liters of milk per year.
Important! The method under consideration is excellent for farmers who grow cattle in the meat sector.
Fattening is carried out for a period of 7–8 months. During this period, young animals are left near the cow 3 times a day. The rest of the time the calves spend in the stall. The advantage of this method is in feeding animals with natural products of the right temperature, which helps to increase the body weight of the animal, and also develops enhanced immunity to various diseases.
Calf Breeding Technologies
Technologies for growing calves vary in the way they keep and feed the young.
The traditional method of raising calves is that newborns are up to 3-5 months old with a cow. When young growth reaches a certain age, it is transferred to individual or group stalls.
- The method has the following advantages:
- minimum financial investment in buildings and premises for raising animals in the presence of a barn;
- young growth is protected from drafts and is warm;
- caring for animals does not require much effort, because the cow independently takes care of the offspring.
- There are also several disadvantages of the described method:
- high level of offspring diseases during mass epidemics;
- delayed development and growth of the animal;
- insufficient amount of vitamins in the feed.
Growing indoors can lead to a lack of vitamin D, as a result of which the level of calcium absorption is reduced, rickets develop, and problems associated with the gastrointestinal tract can also appear. In modern farming, this method is considered obsolete, today it is used extremely rarely.
This method is more effective than the previous one, as the animal, being in the fresh air, gets used to the cool temperature. As a result, the body of calves develops immunity to diseases. The cold method of growing is that newborn calves are placed in individual boxes with an aviary, which are located in the fresh air. These structures are not insulated: all that is used to create heat is a bed of straw in several layers.
Important! This method is suitable for growing cows and dairy, and meat directions.
- This technique gained fame thanks to the following advantages:
- the animal’s body receives the required amount of vitamin D;
- the level of diseases of young animals decreases;
- increased metabolic rate contributes to the development and growth of the animal;
- care for animals does not require much effort.
In order to grow up healthy offspring, you need to pay attention not only to the choice of methods and technologies of keeping, but also to the correct comprehensive feeding. You also need to consider that the diet includes a milk period, a period of active growth, as well as fattening.
In the dairy period
From birth to a month, the calf's diet consists of colostrum. Amino acids that are contained in it enhance the body's resistance to infections. After a week, you can water the animal with diluted milk powder. This product is indispensable because it contains protein, carbohydrates, fats and amino acids, which are necessary for the further development of the individual. The benefit of colostrum can be obtained if the first drink is carried out one hour after calving. In other cases, resistance to infections falls by 20–25%.
When feeding during the milky period, the following rules should be observed:
- taking into account the age of the animal, feeding is carried out 4-6 times a day;
- at a time, the animal must consume the amount of colostrum, which is 10% of its weight;
- before feeding, dairy products are heated to + 37 ° C;
- during the period of feeding young animals with milk, the animal is provided with the necessary amount of drinking water.
Milk is not the main product for the further development of calves: they must also be fed with other feeds. They are introduced gradually in small portions, eventually increasing to the required amount.
Find out if calves can be fed milk powder.
In the period of intensive growth
During the period of active growth, the animal's body requires vitamins A and D. In addition to milk, in the first days of the calf's life, it is necessary to fill its feeder with hay of legumes. At 3 weeks, concentrated feed is introduced into the diet, the dose of which should not exceed 100 g. Combined feed is also added to it. When the beneficial qualities of milk are reduced, the animal is fed with sweet carrots, in which there is carotene. Also, for rapid development and weight gain, young animals can be fed with clover.
At home, you can cook food from these products:
- milk powder;
- fodder yeast;
Read also about the rules and norms of feeding calves from the first days of life.
At the age of 2 months, they begin to fatten the animal without milk. Fattening increases the body weight of an individual. A two-month-old calf is supplemented with whey and other dairy products. At three months, the animal eats mixtures and roughage in a ratio of 1: 1. From the fourth month, food waste can be added to the diet. It is important, regardless of the direction of the young growth, to add vitamins A, E, D, the necessary amount of phosphorus and calcium to the diet.
Calf Care Tips
To keep calves healthy, follow these guidelines:
- choose a feeding method taking into account the purpose of raising animals;
- add vitamins to food — this will improve calf health;
- keep clean in the calf to protect animals from disease;
- Before settling the animal, the stall must first be disinfected;
- carry out a veterinary examination on time and plant young animals.
The development of the calf begins in the womb, therefore, it is necessary to carefully and carefully care for the cow during the gestation period, so that he is born healthy. In the perinatal period, you need to feed the cow, clean its stall, lay the litter in a dense layer. In the first weeks of life, calves are kept with their mother. Unsanitary conditions can lead to the development of various diseases and even to the death of the animal. At 2-3 months, young growth is weaned from the mother and transferred to the stall, where you need to clean the feeder and the place where the animal is in a timely manner. Also, the development of young animals should take place under the supervision of a specialist: he must timely vaccinate the calves.
You will be interested to know how much a cow carries a calf.
The body of young animals can undergo various infections, as it is not yet fully formed. Some diseases require a quarantine regime. Below we consider the most common diseases.
The causes of coughing may be in a cold room with drafts, high humidity or lack of litter. Also, a cough in a calf can indicate the appearance of various diseases associated with the respiratory system. During weaning of calves from the mother, after castration and during the period of group maintenance, young animals have reduced immunity. Individuals aged 1-2 years are less likely to suffer from diseases of the respiratory system, however, these diseases occur in them with complications.
The causes of diarrhea in calves can be several:
- unformed organism;
- improperly organized diet;
- infectious diseases.
Learn about the causes of diarrhea in calves.
Dyspepsia is indigestion. Previously, the term was considered a sign of the development of various infections, but over time it was included in the list of diseases of the digestive system. Dyspepsia occurs in mild and severe forms. Indigestion most often occurs during lactation.
Did you know? Dyspepsia is popularly called "diarrhea of the newborn" or "enzymatic diarrhea."
Bronchopneumonia is a chronic lung disease. The disease is characterized by a strong cough, poor health of the animal, slow breathing, nasal discharge. Bronchopneumonia affects the population en masse.
The main causes of the disease are:
- lack of walking the animal in the fresh air;
- increased humidity in the room;
- the presence of drafts in the calf, low temperature;
- high temperature in the presence of dry air;
- insufficient amount of vitamins in the diet of calves.
Salmonellosis is a disease caused by the Salmonella bacterium. In most cases, they suffer from calves 10-12 months old. Most often, the disease develops in winter. The main cause of the occurrence is the maintenance of young animals in unsanitary conditions. Also, this disease can be transmitted from one individual to another. There are mild and severe forms of salmonellosis.
Learn more about the symptoms and treatment of calf salmonellosis.
The main symptoms are:
- lethargy of the animal;
- discharge from the nose;
- increased body temperature - + 39–40 ° С;
- lack of appetite;
- the presence of diarrhea.