Bon-Home Livestock in Chilton, Wis., takes the transportation and handling of young calves seriously.
“If we’re using our own trailer, it’s always clean between loads of animals, especially when we’re going to someone else’s farm,” says Amy Shiplett, co-owner.
During handling, care is taken so that animals do not fall when getting on and off the trailer. In fact, employees are encouraged to handle newborn and weaned calves as they would a young child.
“When we get young calves in we tend to carry them just because it’s easier,” Shiplett says.
Calves are already stressed by the move, so keeping the receiving environment calm and quiet is important. Stressful procedures, like vaccination, are also kept to a minimum.
“(Weaned calves are) vaccinated at least two weeks prior to transport just to ease the stress of the move and coming to a new facility,” Shiplett says. They also prefer younger calves receive any vaccinations at least 24 hours prior to transport.
These types of handling and transportation practices are encouraged in the Dairy Calf & Heifer Association’s Gold Standards III. A complete list of the organization’s handling and transportation guidelines can be found in sections V and VI of the Gold Standards III.
Animal handling and transportation guidelines can also be found in Section II and Section IV-D of the Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance manual. The quality assurance program was developed to ensure both dairy and beef cattle are produced and managed in a manner that will result in safe, wholesome food for consumers.