Calves are the future of the cattle farm. Good rearing is therefore desirable, especially if you want to achieve that the heifer calves at 24 months.
Growth and health play a decisive role in proper rearing.
While flu problems are most common in calves older than three to four months, the newborn calves (and the calves that are several weeks old) are often affected by diarrhea problems. The causes can be very diverse.
A GOOD START WITH KNOWN AND GOOD QUALITY COLOSTRUM
“Active resistance” is the resistance that the calf itself builds up because it comes into contact with germs.
"Passive resistance" is the resistance that the calf receives "free" from the mother via colostrum shortly after birth.
Calves only receive passive immunity through the colostrum, while the immune system is only sufficiently developed at three to four months to start active immunity.
Calves that do not (or do not receive enough) antibodies with the colostrum will have far too little resistance. These calves are much more susceptible to (infectious) diseases.
My standard is that the calf should ingest 200 grams of antibodies as soon as possible after birth.
This means 4 liters (measured by quality) of high quality colostrum within 6 hours of birth.
The sooner the calf ingests colostrum after birth, the better.
Colostrum is not only a source of antibodies, but also of life force.
In addition to antibodies, it also contains fat, proteins, vitamins, minerals, etc.
A calf without colostrum quickly becomes hypothermic.
Hypothermic calves become limp and sluggish. As a result, they cannot / do not want to drink. The calf is in a downward spiral!
If the calf cannot absorb the colostrum itself due to circumstances, for example after a heavy delivery or if the tongue is (temporarily) too thick, then administering colostrum with a stomach tube is a solution.
I do not approve of the standard use of a gastric tube when administering colostrum.
Why would you have to use a gastric tube with (new) born calves as standard if there is another option? ...
Colostrum from the first milking contains the most antibodies.
Therefore use this colostrum (measured by quality) for the newborn calves. Preferably colostrum from the mother.
If this does not work, a stock of "first colostrum with known quality" from the freezer is also fine. Preferably colostrum from (older and farm-owned) cows.
On farms with diarrhea problems in young calves, 150 to 250 ml of colostrum can be added to the milk twice a day during the first 7 to 10 days of life.
Of course, detecting and remedying the cause of the diarrhea problem is much more important!