Optimal growth in the first weeks of life is essential to get the best returns in the later stage of feeding.
Mother’s health conditions
The handling importance arises even before the birth of the animal. Monitoring cows’ vaccine treatments will affect the health of the calf.
In the first hours of life it is vital that the calf receives colostrum, as it will transfer immunity from the mother. That is why we emphasize the direct involvement with the farmer, with whom a relationship of trust and responsibility of the calf’s care in its first days of life is created.
The transportation and collection of animals is done in the shortest possible time to reduce the stress level the may experience.
Upon arrival, animals are selected, creating groups of homogeneous sizes to avoid competition in the stables. From the first day they follow action guidelines for their optimum adaptation to the farm. It is a vital period for them because they are very young animals which face a strange environment, and where they have direct contact with animals from different places.
During the lactation stage animals are fed mainly on milk. They will be given two doses per day at a suitable temperature for proper digestion. Although these animals hardly try fodder, they are provided of an initial feed, on their free will, to encourage their appetite.
Weaning, to stop supplying milk as main food, is a key time during the life of the animal. This substitution of feed for milk produces anxiety, as they are still waiting to be supplied with milk. We must find the idyllic moment to do the substitution. The lactation period cannot be excessively be extended as weaning prices shoot up, however in order to replace this feed each animal must be eating enough to cover its nutritional necessities.
An optimum weaning to get the animals in the best conditions for the fattening stage depends in four elements:
The facilities. With such young animals it is necessary to avoid the sudden change in temperature to which they are exposed. They must have comfortable access to water and feed, and be designed so that its handling produces the least stress possible. What is more, it is necessary to have individual cages for those animals which need more attention.
Handling. The daily proceedings to which we subject the animal must be correct. Changes in food, animal breeding, vaccinations, making milk, food distribution, stable changes, the distribution of the beds; have to be planned, carried out at the right time and with absolute diligence.
The vaccination program. When such young animals are acquired from different sources and mixed, a very cautious health program is needed. Inspection and samples analysis are necessary at arrival of all the different animals to meet their physiological state.
Quality food. Meeting the dietary needs of animals for optimal development is essential. An animal that is not well fed is an animal that is not growing to the extent of its possibilities. This can affect the appearance of the adult animal, in their capacity replacement and the response of their body against disease.