Direct from Farm vs The Sale Yards

Every calf rearing handbook mentions knowing where the calves come from. Yes, in the ideal world. But sometimes the calves aren’t available when you want them, or not the right type etc etc

This year, we were able to source 2 lots of 10 calves from a local Autumn calving dairy farmer.

  • We knew they’d been feed that day, and what.
  • You can physically inspect them for dry navels, scours, alertness
  • They didn’t have far to travel
  • They aren’t combined with numerous other farm lots
  • You are assured they are more than 4 days old

We bought the last lot of calves, from the Sale Yards……

We are lucky to have such a big selection near home available when you need them. I bought three pens, to get the 13 calves. When registered with NAIT I could see that the calves were from 5+ different farms from throughout the district, so there are 5 x the potential to introduce new pathogens and all the different management systems thrown together.

When we bought the calves home, we fed them electrolytes. I have always done this in previous years too, and ironically the calves from the farm where NOT interested it at all. Where as the calves from the sale all knocked back 2 litres each within seconds. Which said a lot for their state of hydration. Hydration is essential to the calves in the early days and dehydration is a precursor everything heading south heath wise. The electrolytes are the first drink they have, then in the morning I introduce the first milk feed.

Unfortunately we also bought home a pathogen from the sale, probably rotavirus! That is another blog.

NB: Opticell makes no claim against pathogens, but the physical binding nature and physical effect on faeces went a long way in their recovery and lessening the potential impact I think.