All the available calf rearing information stresses the importance of calf health on selection and receipt. When buying from a sale, you need to have a quick eye & strong wit to be able to best judge the calves suited to your needs.
We are fortunate this year to be sourcing our calves mostly from a local Autumn calving farmer.
This is my checklist before buying:
Dry navel (this helps to ensure that the calves are a few days old)
Straight legs (good conformation)
Alert and up and about
Breed selection (for me buying Friesian bulls, it is good colouring, white ‘star’, 4 white feet)
Once they arrived home (after a 10 minute drive) they were offered them electrolytes. To be honest they weren’t fussed, so didn’t force the issue. I included 12.5g of Opticell plus UF per calf in this initial feed. Normally when calves have arrived from further afield they are thirsty and knock back the offered electrolytes.
Calf meal available to calves
Hay available to calves