11 steps to reduce calf scours

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Prevention plays a huge role in preventing scours among newborn calves. In addition to good cow nutrition proper colostrum feeding and an up-to-date vaccination program, it’s imperative to implement sound sanitation and management practices that reduce calf exposure to scour-causing organisms, says Ann Wilkinson, a veterinarian with Pfizer Animal Health.

Therefore, she suggests:

  • Don’t let calves come into contact with fecal matter at birth. Keep cows as clean as possible during delivery, and thoroughly clean teats before milking.
  • Maintain clean, dry maternity pens.
  • If the dam is positive for Johne’s disease, use pooled colostrum instead.
  • Move calves out of maternity pens as quickly as possible.
  • Isolate scouring calves from non-scouring calves.
  • Treat scouring calves immediately.
  • Don’t co-mingle calves.
  • Don’t put calves in muddy, wet pens.
  • Feed a quality milk replacer.
  • Give calves access to fresh water and good calf starter.
  • Tighten your management of these areas during cold or inclement weather.


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