Calves & Social Distancing
Dr. Hake - Calf Vet
Since we all have a good understanding of why SOCIAL DISTANCING is important... lets talk about why we use this public health strategy with our calves.
1. The chart below shows how a calf's immune system significantly drops after the first 3-5 days after colostrum consumption. This is a period where antibodies from the mom wear off and the calf is forced to mount its own immune response.
2. During this time where we know our calves are at the highest risk for getting sick we use the practice of **social distancing**! Our calves can still see other calves, but they don't have nose-to-nose or nose-to-butt contact. Many calfhood diseases are spread from fecal-oral contact... you read that right, if one calf comes into contact with another calf's poop it can make them sick. (6 ft rule!)
3. After the period of highest risk we move them from "the nursery" to "Kindergarten". Do you remember when your kid went to kindergarten and came home sick ALL.THE.TIME? Imagine if we would have sent in a newborn!? We move them into kindergarten (ie: group pens) at about 1.5 - 2 months old, at this point they have been vaccinated and their immune systems are more mature.
4. Farmers always try to use sound health strategies to decide what is best for their animals. Sometimes a period of social distancing is the best plan for their calves on their operation!
5. Stay healthy, Stay Sane!