“An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Animal welfare can also be improved when an animal experiences positive states. The care and management provided by the person(s) responsible for the daily care of farm animals has a significant influence on their welfare.” Source: Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Veal Cattle
The Codes of Practice are nationally developed guidelines for the care and handling of farm animals. They serve as our national understanding of animal care requirements and recommended practices. Codes promote sound management and welfare practices for housing, care, transportation, and other animal husbandry practices.
Weaning is one of the most stressful times for calves, and successful weaning management is essential to ensuring a smooth transition from a liquid to a solid diet. To avoid problems such as reduced growth rates, weight loss, and diarrhea at the time of weaning, there are a variety of management strategies to combat these issues.
Feeding calves milk or milk replacer from buckets is simple; it is easier to pour milk into a bucket than a bottle, and some find buckets easier to clean than bottles. However, when calves drink milk from buckets rather than sucking milk through a nipple, they are more likely to display abnormal behaviours like nonnutritive sucking or cross-sucking.
Stress is defined as any physical or psychological discomfort. Studies have shown that when animals are stressed, it results in reduced feed conversion, greater production of manure, a decrease in the level of immunity and an increase in the excretion rate of pathogenic bacteria in their manure. Every effort should be made to reduce stress during routine handling, loading, and transport of veal calves.
Transportation can be a stressful event for young calves as well as finished veal cattle. Simple practices can reduce the stress of transport and keep animals healthy and productive.
When we house calves in environments with easy access to everything they need, such as a clean bed, fresh water, milk/milk replacer, and calf starter, calves end up with free time! Should we provide them with something to do?