Maintaining good house hygiene when rearing calves

Maintaining good house hygiene when rearing calves

Bacteria and viruses are prevalent in large numbers on all farms and the diseases these and other germs cause in calves are common and costly. Without proper cleaning and disinfection, the pathogen load will increase in calf buildings and on feeding equipment. This means disease can easily spread from calf to calf from contamination in their environment. Ideally, all-in-all-out pens (and buildings as well) should be utilised. 

If you are struggling to manage digestive disturbances in your calves, try improving hygiene as a priority and always make sure your milk replacer contains only correctly processed, high quality ingredients. Remember, labels don’t really tell you clearly what’s in the bag, always feel free to ask the manufacturer to explain the label to you if you need more clarity.

Following a standard cleaning and disinfection procedure:

  • Remove all organic matter prior to cleaning and disinfection. This means thorough removal of all bedding material, followed by use of a pressure washer or steam cleaner. Try to clean in a separate airspace away from other calves because the use of a pressure washer in an occupied building can increase the disease risk for any remaining calves.
  • Use a recommended disinfectant, at the correct concentration, on all surfaces that calves can touch. Where surfaces are cracked or damaged or porous and difficult to clean, apply a greater concentration of disinfectant to these areas. Then allow pens to dry out before the next batch of calves arrives.
  • If you are still wrestling with stubborn digestive issues in calves, consider feeding a 100% dairy protein milk formula. Volac’s Imunogard® has been developed specifically to improve calf gut function in challenging rearing situations.

Published on: 04 October 2022

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