Interesting report on calf group size.

Alan Barrow

Member
Location
North West
Automatic Calf Feeders

Studies have shown that larger calf groups (more than 18 calves per teat) have an increased risk of developing diseases such as scours and pneumonia, which is thought to be linked to an increased stocking density and competition in larger groups.

In addition to this, it has been demonstrated that due to increased competition at feeders, intakes are reduced and therefore growth rates are significantly reduced in those calves in larger group size. To avoid this, it’s recommended that group sizes should be kept to 8-10 calves per feeder.

Additionally, studies have found that calves introduced onto ACF under 12 days of age are 50% more likely to develop pneumonia. In summary, calf group size should be kept to 8-10 calves per feeder with a minimal age range, and in order to reduce the risk of calves developing pneumonia, calves should not be transitioned onto ACF until they are older than 12 days of age.



REFERENCES

AMTS webinar ‘Feeding calves in robotic systems.’ April 11, 2019. https://agmodelsystems.com/thenutritionist-2019-saito/ Hoards Dairyman webinar ‘Feeding calves as groupies’. June 8, 2015. https://hoards.com/article16035-feeding-calves-as-groupies.html
 

Alan Barrow

Member
Location
North West
:unsure: 3 and 6 years !! lol, do you mean 3 to 6-year-old research? (must be a typo!!), no was posted from Nantwich vets yesterday, high lighting problems with keeping calves in larger groups, yes even if it's 3 to 6 (3 and 6 !!!) year-old research it's great advice👍 we see so many calves being kept in large groups have increased health problems.
 

Samcowman

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Wiltshire
Or is it due to calves coming from more sources in the big groups?
We have found a marked difference is multi source groups compared to single source. All in groups of 25.
 

Cowmansam

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Shropshire
We start in 5s then as soon as there going well take the row off hurdles out make it into ten they go on a big drum then a week or two later merge the tens to a 20 then they go outside a week after that in groups up to 80 aslong as they have clean beds or you keep moving feeders in the field group size shouldn’t matter
 

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