When assessing calf health, it is essential to observe their condition and behaviour.
Using your senses will help to determine if there is any cause for concern.
- Are the calves drinking and eating as normal?
- Are their eyes bright and alert?
- Are their ears drooping?
- Is their coat soft and shiny?
- Is there a discharge from the mouth or nose e.g. saliva, mucous or blood?
- Examine the navel for swelling, redness and discharge
- Watch the calves moving, standing up and stretching to ascertain steadiness and energy
- Check the colour and consistency of the faeces for abnormalities
- Are the calves grinding their teeth, bellowing or coughing?
- Does the bedding and air smell clean, dry and ammonia- free?
- Do the faeces smell normal or foul?
- Check the smell of the milk, meal, hay and water – is it fresh?
- Any additional products offered to the calves should be palatable and free from moulds
- Use a digital thermometer to diagnose illness early and monitor treatment. The normal temperature of a calf will vary, but as a guide should be approx. 38°C
- Compare the temperature of another pen mate before checking the sick calf