158 ToolsChecklists – DAIRY HEIFERS – LIFETIME VALUE OF RESPIRATORY HEALTH by ZoetisClick here for resource
Housing and Welfare \ Weaning age
Species targeted: Dairy;Beef;
Where to find the original material:
Country: United Kingdom;
A UK study showed that on average, 14.5% of live born dairy heifers fail to reach their first lactation, with pneumonia the biggest known cause of mortality in calves aged 1 to 6 months. Another UK study examining calf lungs at slaughter showed that beef calves with healthy lungs gained 72g/day more than those with moderate lung damage, and 202g/day more than those with severe damage. The foundation of every calf’s lifetime performance begins at birth. The first two months are of particular importance – a direct link has been made between heifer growth rates during the first few months of life and age at first calving, first and second, lactation milk yield and longevity in the dairy herd. If a young reared calf does not grow effectively in the first months, it can be too late to simply ‘catch up later’. Therefore, careful, proactive management of the reared calf is critical to maximise future productivity.