Speak to any dairy or suckler beef farmer and they will confirm the absolute priority of giving calves the best possible start in life.
And this can be best achieved by boosting the young animals’ immune system in the most effective way possible.
Co Fermanagh dairy farmer John Little takes up the story: “I am very aware of the fact that problems such as Crypto and Coccidiosis are now becoming major problems on farms right across Northern Ireland. And these conditions are adding to the more traditional disease challenges that confront young calves.
“Another factor to be added into the equation is the fact that colostrum quality can vary significantly from cow to cow.
“In response to this we are now providing our new-born calves with an extra boost in the first hours of birth, by ensuring that they each receive a tube of Calf Aid paste, which fully complements the nutrition and antibody already available courtesy of the dam’s first milk.”
John milks 90 cows between Tempo and Maguire Bridge in Co Fermanagh. Calving the year round, the milking group is currently averaging 8,000 litres with good butterfat and protein.
“Every calf gets three litres of colostrum within six hours of birth,” he explained.
“We also take every step to maintain the highest possible standards of hygiene in the calf rearing houses. But even with all of these precautions in place some calves would have still succumbed to a scouring problem in the past.
“I suppose it’s a fact of life that all dairy farms represent a source of bugs, no matter what efforts are made to keep buildings and sheds clean.
“Some time ago I was advised to treat new-born calves with Calf Aid paste within the first few hours of life.
“I did this and the results obtained were tremendously positive. I can confirm that scours have not been a problem since.
“In fact, it is now standard practice on the farm to apply one full paste on to the back of each calf’s tongue as soon as possible after birth.”
Mervue Laboratories manufactures Calf Aid paste. The company’s representative, Robert Mollan recently visited John Little’s farm in the company of Wayne Bell, from local stockist Ballylurgan Hardware in Fivemiletown.
“Calf Aid is a Micro Nutrient Oral paste, formulated specifically for new-born calves at times of stress to support the emerging immune system, growth rates and appetite,” Robert explained.
“It contains ‘C Guard’, a blend of plant extracts, essential oils, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants supporting the natural management of immunity and gut health. This will support the calves immunity to allow it to combat the many infectious challenges from the enviorement. Calf Aid is also a source of Omega 3 oils, Prebiotics, Trace Elements and Vitamins.
“Bought in calves should receive 1 full paste of Calf Aid when they arrive in the yard.”
Robert concluded: “Calf Aid is proven to provide young calves with nutrients to support growth, immunity and health. Ease of administration has also been a key factor in the growth of its popularity at farm level.”