The best Possible Start Into Life- Stage 1- Newborn Calf

NEWS Michelle Beier

We are so happy to announce that every week we will be discussing the different stages of a cow’s life. We at Agri-Comfort are experts in this field  and wish to share our knowledge.

Stage 1

On most dairy farms, calves get born nearly every day of the year. The best possible start into life – Stage 1 – Newborn Calf.

On most dairy farms, calves get born nearly every day of the year. It is very important for farmers to have a system figured out what happens after each baby calf draws its first breath. These baby calves are very vulnerable. Due to the bovine specific style of placenta, calves have only a very limited protection from their innate immune systems at birth. Therefore, it is very important to protect each calf from germs and pathogens and they should not stay in the maternity pen longer than needed. 

A great solution is what Joep Drissen of CowSignals calls a ‘cuddle box’. A cuddle box is a half-open pen that is thoroughly cleaned, has lots of dry, fresh straw as bedding in it AND allows the calf’s mother reach her calf.

The interaction between calf and mother is important for both their health and wellbeing. The cow’s instincts tell her to lick her calf dry, this will release hormones that help clean the uterus after birth and prepare her for giving milk. The calve’s circulation and breathing needs the licking as a stimulus, think of it as kickstart!

The Agri-Plastics Starter Pen is the ideal pen for the cuddle box system. It has an open top for easy access to the calf, the door can be open 180° or even be removed, so the cow can reach in easily, the PE material is very easy to clean and sanitize, and the wheel kit makes it versatile for every barn!

The calf can stay in the Starter Pen for the first few days, till it has gotten all its colostrum meals, learned to drink from a teat properly and is stable on its legs. 

Then it will be time to move into the pre-weaned section of Stage 2….

First stage discussed! Have you any thoughts on this topic? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

Want a cow comfort consultation? Contact our team today!

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