Feeding errors are usually the cause of ruminal drinking calves. We can often prevent it ourselves!
Without wishing to be exhaustive, I therefore mention some common causes:
- Incorrect tube feeding,
especially AFTER the first colostrum feed, the milk should not end up in the rumen.
- A teat with a too large opening or a broken teat,
the calf then has to swallow instead of sucking and thus produces too little saliva.
- Milk preparation not carried out correctly (mixing time, concentration, temperature).
- Irregular feeding times.
- Contamination of, or poor quality milk powder.
- A drinking temperature that is too low,
I come across this very often with mainly bucket and trough feeding.
- Feeding too fast and too much milk per feeding,
mainly during the first 2 weeks.
- Contamination of the drinking bucket, (old milk and feed residues).
- An incorrectly adjusted calf feeder.
- An incorrectly placed calf feeder.
- The calf drinks water, too soon after a milk gift.
- Reduced health of the calf due to bacterial and/or viral diseases.
- Stress from, for example, long cattle transport.
- Stress and pain due to, for example, inflammation of the veins (phlebitis) or ear infections (otitis).
Fortunately, most calves do well during feeding.
But the calves that are not doing well require the most of our time and energy!