Calving season is here for many producers and right around the corner for others. It is time to begin thinking about health protocols for newborn calves. Those first few weeks of life are a stressful period in young calves’ lives, but by ensuring they receive the proper nutrition, vitamins and minerals, producers can make sure calves achieve a strong start.
Healthy calves start with healthy mother cows. At this stage of the cow’s life, it is important that she receives a nutrient-rich diet with the appropriate amount of protein. By working with your BioZyme Area Sales Manager or one of the nutritionists, they can assist with forage testing and ration balancing to get cows on the right track.
We recommend a high-quality breeding mineral like Concept•Aid® be fed a minimum of 30 days prior to calving through breeding season. Concept•Aid is high in vitamin E and selenium, which are important for colostrum quality. Colostrum production begins as early as 4-5 weeks prior to calving, so you want to make sure that the cow is ready. Once the calf is born, it is important that it receives colostrum within the first 24 hours. However, for maximum immunity, receiving colostrum within six hours is best.
Encouraging your customers to give a dose of Vita Charge® gel or a Vita Charge bolus at birth and/or tagging will help calves more successfully deal with stress. Vita Charge gives the calf a boost of B-vitamins to encourage intake. Vita Charge also contains Amaferm®, a prebiotic that multiplies the good bacteria in the calf’s stomach. At this point in the calf’s life, it doesn’t make sense to give a probiotic as the calf is a functional monogastric, and therefore, probiotics won’t help the rumen.
As calves begin to mature, putting a Vita Charge Stress Tub in an area where the cows can’t get to it, such as a calf hutch or bedded shed, can provide additional health benefits. In addition to vitamins, minerals and Amaferm, the Vita Charge Stress Tub contains MOS that can greatly help with scour issues and promote overall health.
It is best for your customers to contact their local veterinarian about vaccinations. Recommended vaccinations can vary greatly by geographic region, and a local veterinarian will be able to give the best advice.