Hygiene in Calf Rearing

Essential is to implement preventive measures in order to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases. At a farm, it is very important to assess what the weak points for transmission of infectious diseases are, and how to prevent transmission as much as possible. There are three critical areas in calf rearing: birth, housing and  imputies in colostrum. By working in a structured way and keeping everything clean and dry  the risk of transmission will be controlled. Which in the end will contribute to healthy and well growing calves.


Hygiene around Birth

It starts at the immediate birth of the calf. As you know, calves are born without an innate immune system, which means that calves are very vulnerable. The calving pen and the mother cow are by nature a source of infections. Therefore it is important to keep the calving pen clean, dry and very important, not overcrowded. Hygiene plays an important role in keeping the infection pressure as low as possible. By directly disinfecting the navel after birth you prevent microorganism from invading. In this way the calf can use all his energy for growing instead of fighting pathogens.

Hygiene around Housing

When the calf  goes to individual housing, make sure that the housing is cleaned, disinfected and has been empty for at least one week to make sure that no pathogens has survived. Moreover, other and older calves can also be a source of transmission of pathogens. Therefore, it is important to individually house the new born calf for the first two weeks of life, and prevent contact of older calves with the younger calves as much as possible. Make sure that when working with the calves, you wear clean overalls and boots and that you visit the youngest calves first before going to the older calves. Feeding material must be cleaned and dried on a daily basis.

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Impurities in Colostrum

Passive transfer of colostral immunoglobulins (Ig) is crucial  for calf survival. The collection, handling, and storage of colostrum introduce risks of microbial contamination. Cleaning and drying after every cycle the nursing bottle, bucket and drink nipple and by keep the colostrum in the refrigerator keeps the germ contamination as low as possible.

Knowledge about hygiene for you.

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Hygiene, make it a habit! – Part 2

Hygiene, make it a habit! Part 1