If you are on social media, you have likely encountered the viral trend of baby animal videos with audio that says “I’m just a baby” in a cute voice. While the audio has turned many videos of baby animals into internet sensations, it does hold real-world truth.
When you selectively breed your animals to achieve the best genetic fit for your herd, you make an investment. Time, money and future productivity are all affected by these decisions. Furthermore, the future success of these carefully planned genetic investments relies heavily on the health of the calf you just created.
You must remember these calves are just babies. They are newborns with limited immune system function, who will encounter environmental and disease challenges. It is up to you to provide them with proper housing, nutrition and other preventive health measures. If this is not done, their genetic potential may be compromised.
Get your calves off to the right start
There are many steps you can take to help minimize the risks to your youngstock, starting with a solid colostrum program, comfortable housing and proper nutrition. While those are the basics to getting your calves off to a good start, you can go further to ensure your calves reach their full potential. The dairy industry is full of innovation, including preventive herd care products.
It starts with colostrum
Managing maternal colostrum programs can be challenging, and many producers rely on colostrum supplements or replacers to give their calves the necessary immunity and nutrition required in the first days of life. But not just any colostrum product will suffice.
It’s important to choose a product made with whole bovine colostrum, such as GENEX Foundation™ 150 natural bovine colostrum or SCCL colostrum products. Try to avoid products made with filler ingredients such as blood, whey, eggs, vegetable fats or other ingredients not naturally found in maternal bovine colostrum. Remember, the type of colostrum supplement or replacer you use can have a significant impact on your calf’s ability to kickstart their immune system and prevent disease.
Ensure proper gut health
Scours and pneumonia can plague calves on all operations – big or small. On day one of your calf’s life, take a preventive approach by helping build a strong microbiome in their gut with supplemental direct-fed microbials (DFMs).
If you want patented lines of high-quality, beneficial, health-promoting bacteria that increase nutrient absorption and inhibit pathogenic bacteria from colonizing, check out RumiLife® PopPlus™ DFMs. Any DFM you choose should have a substantial amount of high-quality lactic acid bacteria that actually makes a difference in your calf’s gut. If you are concerned your calves will experience a bout of scours despite your best efforts, you will really like the IgY advantage of PopPlus™ calf capsules and paste.
Remember, she’s “just a baby” and needs your help to stay healthy so she can reach her full potential!