Veal Part 3: Let the Fun Begin! Handling, Care and Feeding

Missed the first two in the series?  Here they are:  Veal Part 1, Veal Part 2 Now that your calves are safe and sound at your facility from their initial transport from the dairy where they were born, it's time to really understand what it is to handle animals with the mentality of an infant yet the size of a large Labrador Retriever or Great Dane (because that's how big they'll be when they're less than a week old). Being born is a tiresome business and just like all other newborns, calves want to do three things for the first few weeks of life: eat, eliminate and sleep. One thing I've said, yet folks often fail to comprehend, is just because a calf may weight a hundred pounds when they hit the ground, they are more delicate than a kitten. Think about that. I've watched as momma cats have drug their kittens from nest to nest shortly after giving birth with little adverse affects, yet when humans go hauling calves from one place to another--sometimes even on the same farm--the result is a failure to thrive. Calves that are stressed, especially those who have been moved away from their mothers in less than 72 hours after birth, often suffer from a number of maladies, the three big ones being pneumonia, Coccidiosis and E. coli. Several of my suppliers have been more than willing to provide me with the bull calves at a week old as they detest the local sale barns where they have often seen calves still wet from birth in the auction ring. Many of them even pen cows an

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One thought on “Veal Part 3: Let the Fun Begin! Handling, Care and Feeding

  1. Really excellent series. Sandra, I spent some time looking through your website and would love, as you have time, an article on how you manage multiple species. This is a challenge for us with a small dairy herd (for us, cows), associated calves & steers, sheep, and various poultry. The challenge is to keep to as few management groups as possible to maximize forage and minimize purchased feed & labor. I’m curious how you and others are doing it.

    Also, I see you working with netting in taller fences. Are you using “hard” paddocks for the goat herd or moving them with net or a combination?

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