Cow and Calf Health – Calving Strategies to limit the threat of infections.
Three hygiene and husbandry questions answered by Sarah Dusgate of Pruex Ltd.
Can calves born indoors ever be as healthy as those born outside in pastures that aren’t over stocked?
Yes they can, as long as our hygiene protocols ensure they are delivered into an environment that is as close as possible to nature. In other words, the bacteria that populates their skin and that of their mothers’ udder, originating from the bedding isn’t dominated by fecal, potentially pathogenic microorganisms. This resembles what they would get populated by if they landed on soil or pasture. Out in a clean, well-drained field, the bacteria present in the soil would not pose a great infection threat to the young calf. An over stocked calving pen, despite ample bedding would be dominated by fecal, potentially pathogenic bacteria, and if wet, could very well be harboring high levels of unicellular protozoa like Cryptosporidium. (Crypto)
Ventilation is often a concern when calving indoors, but the quality of air for cow and calf is determined by their bedding. Fecal bacteria make ammonia from the urea and uric acid in bedding. As we all know, colostrum is gold. Farmers will often concentrate on dry cow diets, but tend to ignore water quality. You can’t optimize colostrum quality if fecal bacteria dominate the water available for the cows to drink.
At Pruex, we work with farmers to measure their calving environments. If they are measured, then they can be managed. We introduce soil bacteria into these environments.
A daily spray of Pruex Stabiliser bacteria to bedding reduces the production of ammonia and dries up the bedding. This changes the domination of bacteria from fecal to soil, from harmful to harmless, and reduces the risk of infection.
We apply our Pruex Water Plus bacteria to drinking water to achieve clean, non-infective drinking water.
Some calves, if compromised by Crypto, do require nutritional supplementation. Pruex ATAL Youngstock Gut is a plant based liquid containing herbs such as Origano, Horsetail, Thyme and Loosetrife.
Calves born inside can be as healthy as those born outside, as long as we add more nature into their environment.
Can the cows’ immune system recover as efficiently when calving inside as it does when calving outside in pastures that aren’t over stocked?
Yes if the environment she is kept in presents similar levels of challenge as those faced by her outside. She will need to be adequately fed and have access to clean water, dry bedding dominated by non-infective bacteria, and clean air to breathe. Our strategy for dominating bedding and water with non-infective bacteria become really important in achieving these goals.
Yes, if the environment the cows are kept and the water they drink are dominated by non-infective bacteria. In addition to a daily spray of the bedding with Pruex Stabiliser bacteria, and daily treatment of drinking water with Pruex Water Plus bacteria, Pruex have herbal products to help during the transition period.
At the end of lactation, cows often produce high levels of milk that can be problematic when it comes to drying them off. We use Pruex Gallic Dry, an oral paste containing herbs that help them naturally reduce their milk production.
At calving we use another herbal product - Pruex Post Calving Bolus to help them recover from the processes of giving birth and cleansing. Clean cows post calving being the goal.
Pruex is a One Health company that inspires Prudent as Opposed to Excessive antibiotic use in Human and animal markets. Pruex.co.uk