Recognising happy healthy calves and identifying sick calves is an essential skill of the calf rearer. Managing sick calves is often the biggest challenge and time consuming task facing a rearer. This is frequently complicated by not detecting the issue early, diagnosing the problem and then the often daunting task of caring for large numbers of calves that can get very sick very fast.
The best way of minimising the issues is to take preventative measures, have an animal health plan in place and be highly observant. Preventative measures include ensuring that the calves you bring into the shed are strong and healthy and the importance of adequate colostrum in the first 12 hours cannot be over stated. Careful observation and recording means that health issues in individual animals can be treated before the calf gets very sick and any patterns detected and acted on quickly. Having an animal health plan in place means that rearers are more likely to detect issues early and know what to do when problems occur.